The incidence and risk factors for venous thromboembolism in adolescent and young adult oncology patients

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2021 May;68(5):e28957. doi: 10.1002/pbc.28957. Epub 2021 Feb 24.


Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a known complication among pediatric and adult cancer patients. Adolescent and young adult oncology (AYAO) patients have unique biological and physiological characteristics that make them distinct from other populations. Our objective was to study the VTE incidence, risk factors, and outcomes, which have been understudied in this population.

Procedure: A retrospective case-control study was conducted on AYAO participants with new or relapsed cancer and an imaging confirmed VTE from January 2011 to November 2016 at our institution. Eligible AYAO participants without a history of VTE were designated as controls and were randomly selected from our institution's tumor registry. Demographics, medical history, surgeries, central venous catheter (CVC) data, VTE diagnosis and treatment, relapses, and deaths were abstracted.

Results: Thirty-five VTE cases and 70 controls were included in this analysis. Eighty percent of cases had leukemia or lymphoma (vs. a solid tumor) compared to 58% of controls. The majority of VTEs (57%) were CVC associated, and more than 70% of cases had more than one CVC placed during their cancer treatment versus 34% of controls. Infection was associated with increased VTE risk (OR = 6.35, 95% CI = 2.30, 17.55, p < .0001). VTE cases had increased cancer relapse (23% vs. 10%) and mortality rates (29% vs. 16%) than controls.

Conclusion: AYAO participants with a VTE were more likely to have leukemia or lymphoma, more than one CVC or infection. Further studies are needed to identify patients who would benefit from modifiable prevention measures, such as limiting to one CVC, preventing infections, or considering prophylactic anticoagulation for those with a liquid tumor.

Keywords: adolescent/young adult oncology; oncology; risk factors; thrombotic disorders; venous thromboembolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology*
  • Young Adult