Three-Month Outcomes Are Poor in Stroke Patients with Cancer Despite Acute Stroke Treatment

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2017 Apr;26(4):809-815. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2016.10.021. Epub 2016 Nov 24.


Introduction: Stroke risk is increased in cancer patients. Prognosis in these patients is poor, with higher in-hospital mortality and increased subsequent mortality. However, data on stroke in cancer patients are limited, specifically regarding acute stroke treatment and functional outcomes. We aim to determine the functional outcomes of cancer patients admitted with acute stroke.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients carrying a diagnosis of cancer who were admitted with acute ischemic stroke between March 2013 and February 2016. Demographics, cerebrovascular risk factors, stroke characteristics including acute treatment, and characteristics of their cancer history and treatment were abstracted. The primary outcome measures included in-hospital mortality and 3-month functional outcome (as assessed by the modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score, with mRS scores of 3-6 considered poor functional outcome). Further outcome measures included length of stay and discharge destination.

Findings: Forty-nine patients met the inclusion criteria, with a median admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of 8. Twelve patients (24.4%) underwent acute stroke treatment. The most common stroke etiology was hypercoagulability of malignancy (21, 42.9%). The three-month mortality was 46.9%; half of survivors had poor functional outcome. Functional outcomes did not differ by cancer type, stage, or year since diagnosis; on multivariate analysis only high admission NIHSS score was associated with poor functional outcome (P = .002).

Conclusion: Nearly half of patients with cancer and stroke die within 3 months, and functional outcome is poor for 50% of 3-month survivors despite consideration of acute stroke treatment. Future research should address the role of hypercoagulability in the outcome prediction of stroke patients with cancer.

Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke; cancer; hypercoagulability; malignancy; mortality; outcome; thrombolysis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / mortality*
  • Stroke / therapy
  • Thrombolytic Therapy
  • Treatment Outcome