Gastrointestinal malignancies and cardiovascular diseases--non-negligible comorbidity in an era of multi-antithrombotic drug use

J Cardiol. 2011 Nov;58(3):199-207. doi: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2011.08.004. Epub 2011 Oct 1.


Nowadays, antiplatelet and anticoagulant drug medications are indicated in patients with a variety of cardiovascular disorders, such as atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, and peripheral artery disease. Among cardiology patients, regardless of gastrointestinal (GI) protection, we do not infrequently encounter those patients who have signs and symptoms that are suggestive of GI tract problems. We should bear in mind that such GI signs and symptoms may be attributed to GI cancers, as well as to benign or clinically insignificant lesions. Several clinical studies have shown, albeit controversially that the predictive value of positive fecal occult blood for colorectal malignant neoplasm may not be lower in patients taking antithrombotic medication. In addition, it has been shown that in patients taking antithrombotic drug(s), diagnosed colorectal malignancies are in a relatively earlier phase, suggesting that antithrombotic drugs may facilitate the detection of otherwise unrecognized cancers. The possibility also exists that certain cardiovascular disease may be associated with a higher risk of GI malignant neoplasms. There has been no established evidence concerning whether more aggressive GI tract screening will reduce the probability of cancer death in cardiology patients; nevertheless, GI tract lesions should not be overlooked among cardiology patients, especially when unexplained anemia, gastrointestinal symptoms, or positive fecal occult blood test is present, and GI tract screening should be performed with appropriate timing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Occult Blood
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis


  • Fibrinolytic Agents