Risk of cancer after ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction

Eur J Epidemiol. 2023 Aug;38(8):853-858. doi: 10.1007/s10654-023-00984-8. Epub 2023 Mar 22.


Analyses from administrative databases have suggested an increased cancer incidence among individuals who experienced a myocardial infarction, especially within the first 6 months. It remains unclear to what extent this represents an underlying biological link, or can be explained by detection of pre-symptomatic cancers and shared risk factors. Cancer incidence among 1809 consecutive patients surviving hospitalization for thrombotic ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI; mean age 62.6 years; 26% women; 115 incident cancers) was compared to the cancer incidence among 10,052 individuals of the general population (Rotterdam Study; mean age 63.1 years; 57% women; 677 incident cancers). Pathology-confirmed cancer diagnoses were obtained through identical linkage of both cohorts with the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Cox models were used to obtain hazards ratios (HRs) adjusted for factors associated with both atherosclerosis and cancer. Over 5-year follow-up, there was no significant difference in the incidence of cancer between STEMI patients and the general population (HR 0.96, 95% CI 0.78-1.19). In the first 3 months after STEMI, cancer incidence was markedly higher among STEMI patients compared to the general population (HR 2.45, 95% CI 1.13-5.30), which gradually dissolved during follow-up (P-for-trend 0.004). Among STEMI patients, higher C-reactive protein, higher platelet counts, and lower hemoglobin were associated with cancer incidence during the first year after STEMI (HRs 2.93 for C-reactive protein > 10 mg/dL, 2.10 for platelet count > 300*109, and 3.92 for hemoglobin < 7.5 mmol/L). Although rare, thrombotic STEMI might be a paraneoplastic manifestation of yet to be diagnosed cancer, and is hallmarked by a pro-inflammatory status and anemia.Trial registration Registered into the Netherlands National Trial Register and WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform under shared catalogue number NTR6831.

Keywords: Cancer; Epidemiology; Paraneoplastic; Population-based; Prognosis; ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

MeSH terms

  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction* / complications
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction* / diagnosis
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction* / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • C-Reactive Protein

Associated data

  • NTR/NTR6831