How useful is thrombocytosis in predicting an underlying cancer in primary care?: a systematic review
Oxford University Press (OUP)
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Reason for embargo
Background Although the association between raised platelet count (thrombocytosis) and cancer has been reported in primary and secondary care studies, UK general practitioners are unaware of it, and it is insufficiently evidenced for laboratories to identify and warn of it. This systematic review aimed to identify and collate evidence from studies that have investigated thrombocytosis as an early marker of cancer in primary care. Methods EMBASE (OvidSP), Medline (Ovid), Web of Science, and The Cochrane Library were searched for relevant studies. Eligible studies had reported estimates of the association between thrombocytosis and cancer, in adults aged ≥40 in a primary care setting. Raw data from included studies were used to calculate positive predictive values and likelihood ratios for cancer. Results Nine case-control studies were identified. Study quality was judged to be high. Included studies reported on the following cancer sites: colorectal, lung, ovary, bladder, kidney, pancreas, oesophago-gastric, uterus and breast. Likelihood ratios indicated that thrombocytosis was a predictor of cancer in all sites except breast. In a consulting population, thrombocytosis is most highly predictive of lung and colorectal cancer. Conclusions These results suggest that patients with thrombocytosis in primary care have an increased risk of cancer, and that some, but not all, cancers have raised platelets as an early marker. This finding is expected to be of use in primary care, for general practitioners receiving blood test results unexpectedly showing high platelet counts. Further research is needed to identify the cancers most strongly associated with thrombocytosis.
The Policy Research Unit in Cancer Awareness, Screening and Early Diagnosis receives funding for a research programme from the Department of Health Policy Research Programme. It is collaboration between researchers from seven institutions (Queen Mary University of London, UCL, King's College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Hull York Medical School, Durham University and University of Exeter). OU is funded, and WH is part-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for the South West Peninsula at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health in England
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Oxford University Press via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 34 (1), pp. 4-10