Venous thromboembolism and risk of cancer in patients with diabetes mellitus

Diana Hedevang Christensen, Erzsébet Horváth-Puhó, Reimar Wernich Thomsen, Søren Tang Knudsen, Olaf Dekkers, Paolo Prandoni, Henrik Toft Sørensen

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Aim Venous thromboembolism (VTE) has long been regarded as a marker of underlying malignancy in the general population. Patients with diabetes mellitus are at increased risk of developing VTE, but it is unclear whether VTE in diabetes patients is also a harbinger of occult cancer. Methods From Danish medical health databases, we identified all diabetes patients (N = 8783) with a first-time diagnosis of VTE during 1978-2011. We followed the patients until a first-time diagnosis of cancer, emigration, death, or study end, whichever came first. We calculated one-year absolute cancer risk and overall and site-specific standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for cancer based on national cancer incidence. Results During the total study period 878 cancers were observed. The one-year absolute cancer risk was 4.1% and the corresponding SIR was 3.28 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.94-3.64). The highest SIRs were observed for cancers of the gallbladder and biliary tract (SIR 13.59; 6.77-24.31), the pancreas (SIR 10.16; 6.85-14.50), the ovary (SIR 9.85; 5.63-16.00), and the liver (SIR 9.39; 4.30-17.84). After the first year of follow-up, the overall cancer SIR associated with VTE and diabetes decreased to 1.05 (95% CI: 0.97-1.15). Conclusions VTE may be a marker of underlying cancer in patients with diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-607
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Diabetes and its Complications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016



  • Cancer
  • Deep venous thrombosis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Epidemiology
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

Cite this

Christensen, D. H., Horváth-Puhó, E., Thomsen, R. W., Knudsen, S. T., Dekkers, O., Prandoni, P., & Sørensen, H. T. (2016). Venous thromboembolism and risk of cancer in patients with diabetes mellitus. Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, 30(4), 603-607.