Are venous thromboembolic events associated with subsequent breast and colorectal carcinoma diagnoses in the elderly?

A case–control study of Medicare beneficiaries


  • Blase N. Polite M.D., M.P.P.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Section of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
    • Section of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago Medical Center, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC 2115, Chicago, IL 60637-1470
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    • Fax: (773) 702-3002

  • Elizabeth B. Lamont M.D., M.S.

    1. Department of Medicine and Institute of Technology Assessment, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Healthcare Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • For this study, the linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data base was used. The interpretation and reporting of these data are the sole responsibility of the authors.



Multiple epidemiologic studies have reported associations between venous thromboembolic events and subsequent cancer diagnoses, but the published results have not suggested clear cancer screening approaches.


Using data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare Program, the authors identified patients who were diagnosed with breast and colorectal carcinoma (n = 7166 patients) and compared them with a noncancer control group (n = 126,668 patients) according to their history of hospitalization for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) in Medicare claims files over the previous 24 months. Using logistic regression analysis, the authors calculated the odds of receiving a diagnosis of breast carcinoma or colorectal carcinoma in the 24 months after admission for DVT or PE.


Patients who were hospitalized for DVT or PE had nearly 3.0 times the odds of being diagnosed with colorectal carcinoma (odds ratio [OR], 2.83; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.92–4.17) and > 1.5 times the odds of being diagnosed with breast carcinoma (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.05–3.02) in the subsequent 24 months.


Because hospitalization for DVT or PE is associated with an increased risk of a breast or colorectal carcinoma diagnosis in the subsequent 2 years, physicians should be vigilant in assessing the cancer screening status of patients with new DVT and/or PE to be certain that they are up to date with recommended breast and colorectal screening guidelines. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.