Analysis of incidence and clinical outcomes in patients with thromboembolic events and invasive exocrine pancreatic cancer

Cancer. 2012 Jun 15;118(12):3053-61. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26600. Epub 2011 Oct 11.


Background: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is among the most common malignancies associated with thromboembolic events (TEs); however, reported incidence figures vary significantly and contain small patient cohorts. Pancreatic cancer-specific thrombosis studies examining the correlation between clinical variables, including thrombosis timing and the impact of thrombosis on survival, have not been reported.

Methods: Survival analyses were performed relating to the development and timing of a TE in 1915 patients administered chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with invasive exocrine pancreatic cancer from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2009. TE timing, relative to clinical parameters including laboratory data, erythropoietin-stimulating agent use, and body mass index (BMI), were also analyzed.

Results: A thrombosis was identified in 690 (36%) patients. After adjusting for patients with pancreatic surgery and thrombosis (n = 127), developing a TE significantly increased the risk of death (hazard ratio [HR], 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3-2.8; P < .01). Patients with an early TE (within 1.5 months from pancreatic cancer diagnosis) had a significantly higher risk of death (HR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.7-2.5; P < .01) compared with patients with late TE or no TE. Erythropoietin-stimulating agent use and an elevated international normalized ratio were associated with significantly shorter time to thrombosis. Low BMI was associated with significantly longer time to thrombosis.

Conclusions: TEs are common in exocrine pancreatic cancer, with coagulopathy, erythropoietin-stimulating agent use, and underweight BMI influencing thrombosis timing. TEs, particularly early ones, confer a significantly worse prognosis, suggesting a biological significance, underscoring the relevance of ongoing prophylaxis trials, and raising the question of whether early TEs should be considered a stratification factor for clinical trials.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Hematinics / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Thromboembolism / epidemiology*


  • Hematinics