Superficial Thrombophlebitis May Not Be Linked to Cancer

Rate of new malignancies is same in patients with single episode as in the general population

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to numerous medical textbooks, patients who present with a single episode of unprovoked superficial venous thrombophlebitis do not have an increased short-term risk of developing cancer, according to a study in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Frederiek F. van Doormaal, M.D., of the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 277 patients with superficial thrombophlebitis, 250 of whom were cancer-free at the beginning of the study, and 553 matched controls.

Within two years, the researchers observed that 2 percent of the cases and controls developed a new malignancy. They confirmed their findings after comparing the incidence of new cancers in the patients who had superficial venous thrombophlebitis with the incidence of new cancers in the overall Dutch population (standardized mortality ratio, 1.1).

"Recurrent superficial venous thrombophlebitis was uncommon in this sample, allowing no conclusion about whether recurrent superficial venous thrombophlebitis is associated with cancer, as case reports have suggested," the authors conclude.

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