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Thrombocytosis points to cancer.

Patients with a blood test showing thrombocytosis should be screened for occult cancer. This is the finding of research from Exeter, UK. Researchers used the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink and the English Cancer Registry to look for a link between the results of full blood counts taken in primary care and a diagnosis of cancer during the following year. They compared 40 000 patients aged >40 years who had a first thrombocytosis event--a platelet count of more than 400 x [10.sup.9]/L--recorded from 2000 to 2013 with 10 000 matched controls with a normal platelet count.

They found that 1 098 of 9 435 men with thrombocytosis had cancer diagnosed during the following year, compared with 106 of 2 599 men without thrombocytosis. Results were similar in women. A second raised platelet count within 6 months raised the risk of cancer further, to 18.1% in men and 10.1% in women.

The cancers commonly diagnosed in patients with thrombocytosis were lung and colorectal, and a third of these patients had no other symptoms indicating malignancy. Thrombocyctosis has previously been recognised as associated with lung, colorectal and urogenital cancers, and this is the first study to estimate the overall risk of cancer in patients with thrombocytosis.

Bailey SER, Ukoumunne OC, Shephard EA, Hamilton W. Clinical relevance of thrombocytosis in primary care: A prospective cohort study of cancer incidence using English electronic medical records and cancer registry data. Br J Gen Pract 2017;67(659):e405-e413. https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp17X691109

B Farham

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Title Annotation:30 days in medicine
Author:Farham, B.
Publication:South African Medical Journal
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2017
Words:260
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