Cancer patients with markedly elevated B-type natriuretic peptide may not have volume overload

Am J Clin Oncol. 2007 Jun;30(3):287-93. doi: 10.1097/01.coc.0000256101.04404.b0.


Objectives: Elevated B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels are established as a marker for volume overload and left ventricular (LV) dysfunction in patients with predominately cardiac diseases. Little is known about markedly elevated BNP values in patients with multiple comorbidities.

Methods: A total of 99 patients, admitted to M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, were identified as having a BNP value >1000 pg/mL during the year 2003. Clinical characteristics, including the presence of volume overload and sepsis, as well as echocardiographic parameters were measured. Principal outcome was defined as 30-day mortality.

Results: The median BNP (pg/mL) of the group was 2270 (range, 1010-5000), and there was no association between elevation of the BNP level and the presence of volume overload or LV dysfunction (P = not significant). The large majority of patients (n = 71, 72%) had no volume overload and normal or nearly normal LV function (n = 60, 61%). A majority were also identified as having sepsis (n = 52, 53%). There was no echocardiographic parameter that consistently correlated with BNP levels or volume overload. There was a highly significant association with sepsis and mortality in patients with markedly elevated BNP values, and this conferred a 2.71-fold increased risk of mortality.

Conclusions: In patients admitted with multiple comorbidities and markedly elevated BNP values, there is no significant association with clinical evidence of volume overload or LV dysfunction. An elevated BNP level in patients with sepsis was significantly associated with mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Diabetes Complications / blood
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / blood*
  • Neoplasms / blood*
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Sepsis / blood
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / blood*
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / complications


  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain