Thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke in patients with cancer: a population study

Stroke. 2013 Dec;44(12):3573-6. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.003058. Epub 2013 Sep 24.


Background and purpose: The safety of thrombolysis for acute stroke in patients with cancer is not well established. Our aim is to study the outcomes after thrombolysis in patients with stroke with cancer.

Methods: Patients with acute ischemic stroke who received thrombolysis were identified from the 2009 and 2010 Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Patients with cancer-associated strokes and noncancer strokes were compared based on demographics, comorbidities, and outcomes.

Results: Of the 32 576 strokes treated with thrombolysis, cancer-associated strokes had significantly higher comorbidity indices overall, but fewer vascular risk factors than noncancer strokes. There was no difference in the rates of home discharge and in-hospital mortality, after adjusting for confounders. Subgroup analysis showed that compared with liquid cancers, patients with solid tumors had worse home discharge (odds ratio, 0.178; 95% confidence interval, 0.109-0.290; P<0.001) and higher in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 3.018; 95% confidence interval, 1.37-6.646; P=0.006) after thrombolysis. Metastatic cancers had poorest outcomes, but intracerebral hemorrhage rates were similar.

Conclusions: Thrombolytic therapy for acute stroke in patients with cancer is not associated with increased risk of intracerebral hemorrhage or in-hospital mortality. However, careful consideration of the cancer subtype may help delineate the subset of patients with poor response to thrombolysis. Prospective confirmation is warranted.

Keywords: neoplasms; outcomes assessment; stroke; thrombolytic therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / complications
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / adverse effects
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator