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Risk of cancer in patients with thyroid disease and venous thromboembolism

Authors Christensen DH, Veres K, Ording AG, Jørgensen JOL, Cannegieter SC, Thomsen RW, Sørensen HT

Received 4 December 2017

Accepted for publication 12 April 2018

Published 2 August 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 907—915

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CLEP.S158869

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Irene Petersen


Diana H Christensen,1 Katalin Veres,1 Anne G Ording,1 Jens Otto L Jørgensen,2 Suzanne C Cannegieter,3 Reimar W Thomsen,1 Henrik T Sørensen1

1Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 2Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 3Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands

Objective: Risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is increased in patients with hypo/hyperthyroidism. It is unknown whether VTE may be a presenting symptom of occult cancer in these patients.
Design: Nationwide population-based cohort study based on Danish medical registry data.
Methods: We identified all patients diagnosed with VTE during 1978–2013 who had a previous or concurrent diagnosis of hypothyroidism (N=1481) or hyperthyroidism (N=1788). We followed them until a first-time cancer diagnosis, death, emigration, or study end, whichever came first. We calculated 1-year absolute cancer risk and standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for cancer incidence in the study population compared with national cancer incidence in the general population.
Results: During the first year after a VTE diagnosis, the 1-year absolute cancer risk was 3.0% among patients with hypothyroidism and 3.9% among those with hyperthyroidism. During the first year of follow-up, SIRs for cancer in the study population compared with the general population were 1.96 (95% CI: 1.42–2.64) among patients with hypothyroidism and 2.67 (95% CI: 2.07–3.39) among those with hyperthyroidism. SIRs declined substantially after 1 year but remained increased during the remainder of the follow-up period (up to 36 years) (SIR for hypothyroidism=1.16 [95% CI: 0.97–1.39]; SIR for hyperthyroidism=1.26 [95% CI: 1.08–1.46]).
Conclusion: VTE may be a marker of underlying occult cancer in patients with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Keywords: hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, venous thromboembolism, cancer, cohort study

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