Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 321–326

The Impact of Venous Thromboembolism on Risk of Death or Hemorrhage in Older Cancer Patients

  • Cary P. Gross
  • Deron H. Galusha
  • Harlan M. Krumholz
Original Article


Among older cancer patients, there is uncertainty about the degree to which venous thromboembolism (VTE) and its treatment increase the risk of death or major hemorrhage.


To determine the prevalence of VTE in a cohort of older cancer patients, as well as the degree to which VTE increased the risk of death or major hemorrhage.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study of linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry and Medicare administrative claims data. Patients with any of ten invasive cancers diagnosed during 1995 through 1999 were included; the independent variable was VTE diagnosed concomitantly with cancer diagnosis. Outcomes included major hemorrhage during the first year after cancer diagnosis and all-cause mortality;


Overall, about 1% of patients who were diagnosed with cancer also had a VTE diagnosed concomitantly. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors and cancer stage and grade, concomitant VTE was associated with a relative increase in the risk of death for 8 of the 10 cancer types; the increase in risk tended to range 20–40% across most cancer types. Approximately 16.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 14.9–18.8%) of patients with a concomitant VTE and 7.9% (95% CI 7.7–8.0%) of patients without a VTE experienced a major hemorrhage during the year after cancer diagnosis (P value <.001). The excess risk of hemorrhage associated with VTE varied substantially across cancer types, ranging from no significant excess (kidney and uterine cancer) to 11.5% (lymphoma).


Concomitant VTE is not only a marker and potential mediator of increased risk of death among older cancer patients, but patients with a VTE have a marked increased risk of major hemorrhage.

Key words

thrombosis cancer hemorrhage epidemiology 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cary P. Gross
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
  • Deron H. Galusha
    • 5
  • Harlan M. Krumholz
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Section of General Internal MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Section of Cardiovascular MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars ProgramYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  5. 5.Center for Outcomes Research and EvaluationYale New Haven HospitalNew HavenUSA

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