Nav: Home

Study finds elevated cancer risk among women with new-onset atrial fibrillation

May 25, 2016

Among nearly 35,000 initially healthy women who were followed-up for about 20 years, those with new-onset atrial fibrillation had an increased risk of cancer, according to a study published online by JAMA Cardiology.

Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common cardiac arrhythmia, is associated with an increased risk of major cardiovascular complications. A substantial proportion of patients with AF die of noncardiovascular causes, and recent studies suggest a link between AF and cancer. An increased risk of malignant cancer would be of substantial public health importance given the high prevalence and associated costs of both disorders.

In this study, David Conen, M.D., M.P.H., of University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues included a total of 34,691 women 45 years of age or older and free of AF, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at study entry, who were followed up between 1993 and 2013 for incident AF and malignant cancer within the Women's Health Study, a randomized clinical trial of aspirin and vitamin E for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

During follow-up, new-onset AF and malignant cancer were confirmed among 1,467 (4.2 percent) and 5,130 (14.8 percent) participants, respectively. The median age at baseline among participants with new-onset AF and new-onset cancer during follow-up was 58 years and 55 years, respectively. Analysis indicated that new-onset AF was a significant risk factor for the subsequent diagnosis of incident cancer, even after extensive adjustment for various factors. The relative increase in risk was higher within 3 months of new-onset AF, but more modest elevations in risk persisted in the long term, and a trend toward an increased risk of cancer death was observed. Of the cancer subtypes examined, AF was most strongly associated with colon cancer. In contrast, among women with new¬onset cancer, the risk of AF was increased only within the first 3 months but not thereafter.

"Shared risk factors and/or common systemic disease processes might underlie this association," the authors write. "Future studies are needed to assess the mechanisms underlying this association and to determine whether a diagnosis of AF incrementally adds to existing cancer risk prediction algorithms. Regardless, optimal risk factor control in patients with AF seems prudent."

(JAMA Cardiology. Published online May 25, 2016; doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.0280. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Editorial: Association of Atrial Fibrillation and Cancer

"This provocative work raises both clinical and research questions," write Emelia J. Benjamin, M.D., Sc.M., of the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and colleagues in an accompanying editorial.

"Clinically, should a diagnosis of AF prompt a search for occult cancer? Several factors argue against routine screening, including the low absolute risk of cancer and the potential cost and burden of cancer screening. Similar to the literature regarding screening in cases of unprovoked venous thromboembolism [blood clots], based on available data, cancer screening beyond standard routine health care is currently not merited with a new diagnosis of AF."

(JAMA Cardiology. Published online May 25, 2016; doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.0582. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)
-end-
Media Advisory: To contact David Conen, M.D., M.P.H., email david.conen@usb.ch. To contact editorial author Emelia J. Benjamin, M.D., Sc.M., call Kristen Perfetuo at 617- 638-8484 or email kristenp@bu.edu.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Related Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".