The risk of phlebitis (venous thrombosis) and pulmonary embolism is higher in case of cancer with one out of five patients suffering from one of these complications.
The phenomenon of coagulation is the first step in repairing a tissue lesion. In the course of cancer, coagulation combines with inflammation to make the bed of cancer.
The history of this association cancer and phlebitis (thrombosis) or pulmonary embolism dates from the end of the 19th century when Armand Trousseau described in 1865 that the existence of extensive and recurrent thrombotic phenomena sign the cancerous character of a disease of the stomach . A great semiologist and a man of experience, he died a few years later after having had this thrombotic symptomatology while he was a carrier of stomach cancer.
The risk of phlebitis and embolism is multiplied by 4 to 7 and, in case of cancer, the risk of thrombotic recurrence is tripled. The thrombotic episode is also a marker of poor prognosis during cancer because it is associated with increased mortality that reflects the aggressiveness of the tumor.
The frequency of thrombotic disease is however variable depending on the type of tumor, typically solid tumors affecting the pancreas, brain, lung, stomach, colon, kidney are most at risk (frequency reaching or exceeding 20 %), and the evolutionary stage (the more the tumor is evolved to a metastatic stage and the more the risk is increased).
Blood cancers (haemopathies) are not left behind with increased thrombosis frequencies ranging from 5 to 60% depending on haematological diseases, chemotherapy and patient profiles.
Professor Mohamad Mohty, onco-hematologist and head of department at Saint-Antoine Hospital in Paris, answers our questions in a program with Dr. Jean-François Lemoine.