Blood clots can cause serious problems in cancer patients, study finds

21 September 2011

Blood clots in cancer patients are a more common complication than many doctors may realise, a recent study has found.

Research done on 30,000 people showed that as many as one in five patients risks developing a blood clot called venous thromboembolism, or VTE, within a year of getting treatment for some types of cancers.

In up to two per cent of the cases clots can be deadly, causing deep clots in the veins around the legs and pelvis which could travel to the arteries or lungs and lead to blocked blood flow.

The study, which will be reported on Monday (September 26th) at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm, also found that out of the patients tested, bladder cancer carried the lowest risk of clots and pancreatic cancer the highest at 11.9 per cent.

Gary H Lyman, a professor of medicine and director of the comparative effectiveness and outcomes research programme at Duke Cancer Institute, led the study and suggested that knowing which patients are at highest risk of developing blood clots could lead to better preventive use of blood thinners.

Professor Lyman added that scientists do not fully understand why clots form during cancer treatment, but contributing factors could include blood clotting agents released by tumours, side effects of chemotherapy and health conditions such as anaemia.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Lyman Gary H., "Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) in Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy: a Real-world Analysis of VTE Risk and the Impact of VTE on Healthcare Expenditure.", European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm, September 26th September 2011.

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare. 

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)