01 July 2019

Almost 20% of patients with haematological cancers will suffer thromboembolic or bleeding complications within 10 years of diagnosis, according to a major Danish study.

Researchers say they have identified the risks associated with different kinds of cancer, opening the way for clinicians to consider tailoring therapies to prevent complications.

The analysis found that the risks of bleeding outweighed those of thromboembolic events for myeloid leukaemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and acute lymphoid leukaemia.

The researchers analysed the complications faced by 32,000 patients identified through the Danish Cancer Registry over a thirteen-year period, and estimated the 10-year risks of thromboembolism and bleeding for each cancer type. They also compared these risk estimates to those of a matched cohort from the general population.

Overall, compared with the general population, they found that patients faced a more than two-fold risk of serious bleeding, and a more than tripled risk of venous thromboembolisms, within 10 years. There also was a 22% increased risk of a blood clot in the brain.

Researcher Kasper Adelborg, from Aarhus University in Denmark, said: “This is a broad group of patients with very different disease experiences depending on the type of haematological cancer.

“Some patients have a particular risk of suffering blood clots, while others have instead a higher risk of bleeding such as e.g. gastrointestinal bleeding.”

He added: “If a person has a high risk of suffering a blood clot, treatment with anticoagulant medicine can benefit some patients. But anticoagulant medicine is not desirable if the risk of suffering bleeding is higher.

“This is a difficult clinical problem, but our study can set goals for what carries most weight for each individual type of cancer.”

Source: Adelborg, K., Corraini, P., Darvalics, B., Frederiksen, H., Ording, A., Horváth-Puhó, E., Rørth, M., Sørensen, H.T. (2019) “Risk of thromboembolic and bleeding outcomes following hematological cancers: A Danish population-based cohort study”, Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, available from doi: