D-dimer and risk for thrombosis in adults with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Blood Adv. 2022 Sep 13;6(17):5146-5151. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2022007699.


Patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are at increased risk of thrombotic and/or bleeding events during early chemotherapy, especially when receiving asparaginase. D-dimer is a marker of fibrinolysis that has been associated with thrombotic risk in solid cancers and acute myeloid leukemia; however, to date, no ALL-based study has assessed D-dimer level and risk for thrombosis. We sought to examine D-dimer as a biomarker for risk of thrombosis or bleeding during ALL treatment in a retrospective cohort study at The University of Chicago. We identified 61 consecutive adult patients with ALL, gathering demographic characteristics, treatment regimens, initial biomarkers including D-dimer, and assessing occurrence of venous or arterial thrombosis and bleeding in the first 100 days after diagnosis (index). The 100-day cumulative incidence (95% confidence interval [CI]) of venous or arterial thrombosis in patients with high D-dimer (≥4 µg/mL) was 52.9% (95% CI, 26.4-73.8) compared with 13.8% (95% CI, 5.5-25.7) in patients with low to moderate D-dimer (<4 µg/mL), corresponding with a hazard ratio of 5.04 (95% CI, 1.79-14.22). When testing for potential confounders in a series of bivariate logistic regression models, the association between D-dimer and thrombosis remained after adjusting for body mass index, age, sex, asparaginase treatment, disseminated intravascular coagulation score, initial platelet level, and ALL phenotype. In conclusion, D-dimer levels at ALL diagnosis are associated with venous or arterial thrombosis at 100 days. Future studies should include D-dimer collated with other known risk factors to build a risk assessment model for thrombosis in patients with newly diagnosed ALL.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Asparaginase / adverse effects
  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / complications
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / diagnosis
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma* / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thrombosis* / diagnosis


  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D
  • Asparaginase