External Validation of Generic and Cancer-Specific Risk Stratification Tools in Patients With Pulmonary Embolism and Active Cancer

J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2017 Dec;15(12):1476-1482. doi: 10.6004/jnccn.2017.7004.


Background: Numerous risk stratification tools exist to predict early post-pulmonary embolism (PE) mortality; however, few were specifically designed for use in patients with cancer. This study sought to evaluate the performance of 3 cancer-specific (RIETE, POMPE-C, and Font criteria) and 3 generic (Hestia, Pulmonary Embolism Severity Index [PESI], and Geneva prognostic score [GPS]) risk stratification tools for predicting 30-day post-PE mortality in patients with active cancer. Methods: We identified consecutive, adult, objectively confirmed patients with PE and active cancer presenting to our institution from November 2010 to January 2014. We calculated the proportion of patients categorized as low or high risk by each of the 6 risk stratification tools and determined each tools' accuracy for predicting 30-day all-cause mortality. Results: A total of 124 patients with PE and active cancer were included (mean age, 66.2 years; 46.0% with concurrent deep vein thrombosis; 49.2% with metastatic disease; and 46.8%, 16.9%, and 11.3% receiving chemotherapy, radiation, or both, respectively). Mortality at 30 days occurred in 25 patients (20.2%). The cancer-specific tools (POMPE-C, RIETE, and Font criteria) categorized between 32% and 43% of patients as low risk and displayed sensitivities and specificities of 88.0% to 96.0% and 38.4% to 52.5%, respectively. The generic PESI and Hestia tools had sensitivities >96.0%, but classified <19% of patients as low risk; specificity of these tools were low (PESI, 6.1%; Hestia, 23.2%). Although the final noncancer tool, GPS, classified 43.5% of patients as low risk, it did so with a sensitivity of 52.0% and specificity of 42.4%. Conclusions: When risk-stratifying PE in patients with active cancer, cancer-specific tools appeared to exhibit better prognostic accuracy than their generic counterparts. POMPE-C, RIETE, and the Font criteria identified a substantially greater proportion of patients with PE likely to survive to 30 days with comparable sensitivity to the generic tools.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index