Microangiopathic Hemolytic Anemia Is a Late and Fatal Complication of Gastric Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma: A Systematic Review and Case-Control Study

Oncologist. 2022 Sep 2;27(9):751-759. doi: 10.1093/oncolo/oyac093.


Background: Microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA) is a rare paraneoplastic syndrome that has been reported in patients with gastric signet ring cell carcinoma (SRCC). Clinical and prognostic features of MAHA in this setting have been poorly described.

Materials and methods: We conducted a systematic review in 8 databases of gastric SRCC complicated by MAHA and performed a case-control study assessing factors associated with survival in patients with gastric SRCC and MAHA in our pooled cohort compared with age-, sex-, and stage-matched cases of gastric SRCC from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Descriptive analyses were performed and multivariable Cox-proportional hazards regression modeling was used to determine factors associated with overall survival.

Results: All identified patients (n = 47) were symptomatic at index presentation, commonly with back/bone pain, and dyspnea. Microangiopathic hemolytic anemia was the first manifestation of gastric SRCC in 94% of patients. Laboratory studies were notable for anemia (median 7.7 g/dL), thrombocytopenia (median 45.5 × 103/μL), and hyperbilirubinemia (median 2.3 mg/dL). All patients with MAHA had metastatic disease at presentation, most often to the bone, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. Median survival in patients with gastric SRCC and MAHA was significantly shorter than a matched SEER-derived cohort with metastatic gastric SRCC (7 weeks vs 28 weeks, P < .01). In multivariate analysis, patients with MAHA were at significantly increased risk of mortality (HR 3.28, 95% CI 2.11-5.12).

Conclusion: Microangiopathic hemolytic anemia is a rare, late-stage complication of metastatic gastric SRCC and is associated with significantly decreased survival compared with metastatic gastric SRCC alone.

Keywords: case-control study; gastric cancer; microangiopathic hemolytic anemia; signet ring; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hemolytic* / complications
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell* / complications
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell* / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / pathology