Superficial thrombophlebitis not associated with occult cancer

January 01, 0001

Superficial thrombophlebitis not associated with occult cancer

These Dutch researcher examined the incidence of cancer in patients diagnosed with idiopathic superficial thrombophlebitis. The patients and the controls were identified via the electronic medical records of 5 primary care centers in Amsterdam. The standardized morbidity ratio was determined using data from the Dutch cancer registry.

The authors found: "A total number of 277 patients with superficial thrombophlebitis were identified, of which 250 patients had no cancer at study entry. In 5 of these 250 patients (2%), a new malignancy was diagnosed within 2 years after their superficial thrombophlebitis compared with 2% in the control group. The standardized morbidity ratio was 1.1. A recurrent episode of superficial thrombophlebitis was observed in 18 of the 250 patients, and in 1 patient cancer was diagnosed within 24 months after the first episode of superficial thrombophlebitis."

The authors concluded: "that a single episode of unprovoked superficial thrombophlebitis diagnosed by a family physician is not associated with an increased risk of subsequent cancer."

This study finds no link between spontaneous superficial thrombophlebitis and subsequent cancer, suggesting family physicians do not need to consider a workup for malignancy in such patients.

For the full abstract, click here.

Annals of Family Medicine 8:47-50, January 2010
© 2010 Annals of Family Medicine Inc
Idiopathic Superficial Thrombophlebitis and the Incidence of Cancer in Primary Care Patients. Frederiek F. van Doormaal, Selma Atalay, Henk J. Brouwer, Eit-Frits van der Velde, Harry R. Büller, and Henk C. van Weert. Correspondence to Frederiek F. van Doormaal: [email protected]

Category: B. Blood/Immune Mechanisms. Keywords: superficial thrombophlebitis, idiopathic thrombophlebitis, cancer, risk, primary care, case control study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 10 February 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.