Venous thromboembolism and occult cancer: impact on clinical practice.
Thromb Res. 2016 Apr;140 Suppl 1:S8-S11
Authors: Gheshmy A, Carrier M
Unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE) can be the first manifestation of cancer. Given this relationship between unprovoked VTE and cancer, it is appealing for clinicians to screen their patients with a first episode of acute unprovoked VTE for a potential occult malignancy. Five different studies have compared a limited (thorough history and physical exam, basic bloodwork) to a more extensive occult cancer screening strategy (e.g. computed tomography, fludeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, etc.). Most of these studies have failed to show that an extensive occult cancer screening strategy diagnoses more occult cancer (including early cancers), misses fewer cancers during follow-up or improves overall and/or cancer-related mortality suggesting that extensive occult cancer screening should not be performed routinely. Therefore, patients with a first unprovoked VTE should undergo a limited cancer screening only and clinicians should ensure that their patients are up to date regarding age- and gender- specific cancer screening (colon, breast, cervix and prostate) as per their national recommendations. Current evidence does not support a net clinical benefit to perform an extensive occult cancer screening on all patients, and a decision to do additional testing should be made on a case by case basis.
PMID: 27067984 [PubMed - in process]