Public Release: 

Cancer patients less likely to receive clot-busting drugs after stroke

Friday News Tip Presentation 161 -- Session: A28

American Heart Association

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 26, 2018 -- When a stroke occurs in patients with cancer, they are one-third less likely to receive standard clot-busting medication as patients without a malignancy, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.

Cancer patients frequently have strokes, which can occur due to traditional risk factors or from risks associated with cancer (such as blood that clots more easily) or its treatment. Over time, the use of both clot-dissolving drugs and procedures that mechanically remove clots following stroke have increased. The current study sought to determine whether these approaches increased as much in stroke patients with cancer (excluding those with brain cancer).

In a national sample, the researchers found:

  • The use of clot-busting medication rose from 0.01 percent in 1998 to 4.23 percent in 2013 in cancer patients with stroke, but its use remains about one-third lower than in patients without cancer.

  • The use of newer procedures to mechanically remove clots rose from 0.05 percent in 2006 to 1.07 percent in 2013 in cancer patients with stroke, and is similar to its use in patients without cancer.

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The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke funded the study.

Babak B. Navi, M.D., Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City.

Presentation location: Room 515A

Additional Resources:

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Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke -- the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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