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Cancer Risk in Pulmonary Hypertension Patients

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Background: Strong evidence indicates that venous thromboembolism is a presenting symptom of cancer. Cancer is a known cause of pulmonary hypertension; however, it remains unknown whether pulmonary hypertension is a marker of occult cancer. We examined the association between a pulmonary hypertension diagnosis and cancer risk in a cohort study using population-based data from the Danish health system.

Patients and Methods: Using Danish nationwide registries, we identified 6335 patients with a pulmonary hypertension diagnosis and without a previous cancer diagnosis between 1995 and 2017. We computed the age-, sex-, and calendar year-standardized incidence ratio (SIR) as the ratio of observed to expected number of cancers using national incidence rates as the reference. We performed a subgroup analysis among patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension in the period in which a specific ICD-10 code was available (2006-2017).

Results: We identified 212 cancers within the first year of follow-up and 796 cancers thereafter. The one-year risk of cancer was 3.3% and the one-year SIR was 1.96 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.70-2.23). In the second and subsequent years, the SIR remained elevated (SIR: 1.15 [95% CI: 1.08-1.24]). In patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, the one-year SIR was 1.41 (95% CI: 0.82-2.25).

Conclusion: Cancer risk was clearly higher in patients with pulmonary hypertension compared with the general population. The association was particularly strong in the first year of follow-up, but remained elevated thereafter. However, absolute risks were low, limiting the clinical relevance of pursuing early cancer detection in these patients.

TidsskriftClinical Epidemiology
Sider (fra-til)173-177
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2022

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