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Venous Thromboembolism and Risk of Cancer in Users of Low-Dose Aspirin: A Danish Population-Based Cohort Study

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Background Aspirin may reduce the risk of cancer, particularly gastrointestinal cancer, and venous thromboembolism (VTE). VTE can be the first symptom of occult cancer, but whether it is also a marker of occult cancer in aspirin users remains unknown. Therefore, we investigated the risk of cancer subsequent to VTE among users of low-dose aspirin.

Methods We conducted a population-based cohort study using data from Danish health registries for the years 2001 to 2018. We identified all patients with a first-time diagnosis of VTE who also redeemed a prescription for low-dose aspirin (75–150mg) within 90 days prior to the first-time VTE. We categorized aspirin users by the number of prescriptions filled as new users (19 prescriptions). We computed the absolute cancer risks and standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for cancer using national cancer incidence rates.

Results We followed-up 11,759 users of low-dose aspirin with VTE. Long-term users comprised 50% of aspirin users. The 1-year absolute risk of cancer was 6.0% for new users and 6.7% for short-term and long-term users, with corresponding SIRs of 3.3 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.8–4.0), 3.2 (95% CI: 2.9–3.7), and 2.8 (95% CI: 2.6–3.2), respectively. After the first year of follow-up, the SIR decreased to 1.2 (95% CI: 1.1–1.4) for new users, 1.1 (95% CI: 1.1–1.3) for short-term users, and 1.1 (95% CI: 1.0–1.2) for long-term users.

Conclusion VTE may be a harbinger of cancer, even in users of low-dose aspirin, regardless of duration of use.
TidsskriftTH open : companion journal to thrombosis and haemostasis
Sider (fra-til)e257-e266
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2022


  • venous thromboembolism, low-dose aspirin, cancer, cohort

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