Mesothelioma and the Risk of Blood-Clot Formation

If you have malignant pleural mesothelioma you run an increased risk of suffering a pulmonary thromboembolism, deep venous thrombosis or myocardial infarction

Translation: your mesothelioma could be setting you up for a stroke or heart attack.

These potentially life-threatening occurrences all arise from blood clots that form inside your blood vessels. They are classified as thromboembolic events — TEEs for short.

A research team based in Turkey noticed that some mesothelioma patients under their care suffered TEEs, and they wanted to find out how common it is.

They wrote about their discoveries in “Thromboembolic Events in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” in
the online edition of the journal Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis.

Mesothelioma and Thromboembolic Events

The researchers in Ankara, working from labs at Ataturk Education and Research Hospital and the Hacettepe University Medical Faculty, framed their investigation as a retrospective study.

They sought to identify the prevalence of TEEs among sufferers of malignant pleural mesothelioma — a matter of concern in Turkey, where mesothelioma cases are increasing.

“We aimed to investigate malignant pleural mesothelioma and its relationship with the presence of thrombocytosis, the disease stage, and the tumor histopathology,” the researchers wrote.

They started by methodically examining case files of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients who were diagnosed in visits to the hospital and university between early 2008 to the middle of 2014.

There were 178 such cases during that period. Of those, 71 patients — slightly less than 40 percent of the entire cohort — were found to have thrombocytosis.

Thrombocytosis occurs when a patient’s blood platelet count runs high. The condition is recognized as making some patients predisposed to having a TEE.

Within the group of 71 thrombocytosis sufferers, 14 experienced a TEE. That’s almost 8 percent of the total cohort.

To be precise, six of the 14 had a pulmonary thromboembolism. Another six had deep venous thrombosis. The remaining two had myocardial infarctions.

The researchers noted that within the group of 14 TEE victims, five of the patients were hit with a thromboembolic event before they were ever diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

However, nine experienced a TEE at the time of or after a malignant pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.

The researchers were not able to determine whether mesothelioma bore the blame for producing the blood clots that triggering these TEEs. The best they could do without further study was to make note of the existence of the elevated risk of TEEs among mesothelioma victims.

CT as a Mesothelioma Diagnostic Tool

The study’s authors are no strangers to mesothelioma investigations. Several of them jointly tackled a mesothelioma clinical question on at least one previous occasion.

It was in 2006 when they co-authored the study “Computed Tomography Findings in 66 Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Due to Environmental Exposure to Asbestos” that appeared in the May-June issue of the journal Clinical Imaging.

Back then, they were focused on exploring ways of producing a better, more reliable diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma using computed tomography scanners.

The researchers’ take-away from the 66-patient retrospective study was that CT scans could quite readily spot the differences between mesothelioma and other causes of pleural effusion, for example.