Dr. med. univ. Cornelia Englisch Medical University of Vienna

Cancer: Blood Type Linked to Risk of Blood Clots

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. med. univ. Cornelia Englisch Medical University of Vienna

Dr. Englisch

Dr. med. univ. Cornelia Englisch
Medical University of Vienna

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? 

Response: Patients with cancer are at high risk for developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). Venous thromboembolism includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT), when blood clots form in the deep veins of the legs and pulmonary embolism (PE), a potential life-threatening condition when a clot breaks free and lodges in the arteries of the lung.

Having a non-O blood type, meaning blood types A, AB or B, is a known risk factor for VTE in the general – non-cancer – population. Interestingly, it is the most common genetic risk factor for thrombosis.

If this is also the case in patients with cancer has not been clarified yet. We therefore wanted to assess the role of ABO blood type in cancer-associated thrombosis.

To achieve our goal, we utilized the dataset of the Vienna Cancer and Thrombosis Study (CATS); an observational cohort study including adult patients with active cancer.

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings?

Response: Our findings suggest that patients with non-O blood types have a higher risk of developing VTE 3 months after diagnosis or recurrence of their cancer.

Further, we grouped patients not only by their blood type but also by their tumor type. Patients with pancreas, brain and gastroesophageal cancer were considered at high risk for thrombosis. All other cancer types are thought to be associated with a lower risk. However, these patients had a higher thrombosis risk independent of time when having blood type non-O in our study.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We would like readers to take away that venous thromboembolism is a common complication in patients with cancer. Further, that non-O blood type seems to be associated with a higher risk in certain scenarios (3 months after diagnosis, patients with lower risk tumor types).

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Although these findings are novel, they are exploratory in nature and therefore need further investigation. Moreover, it would be of interest to better understand the mechanism that underlies this observation. We hope that ABO blood type can help in risk assessment in the future.

In general, our goal is to better understand the mechanism underlying cancer-associated thrombosis in the future. We hope that this will help us in predicting individual risk better, improving treatment as well as prevention of this common and severe complication.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: I would like to add that we hope that our research increases awareness that thrombosis is common and of importance in patients with cancer. Our findings need further evaluation but we are hopeful that ABO blood type can be helpful as a predictor in clinical practice in the future.

I have no disclosures. 


Cornelia Englisch, Florian Moik, Stephan Nopp, Markus Raderer, Ingrid Pabinger, Cihan Ay. ABO blood group type and risk of venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer. Blood Advances, 2022; DOI: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2021006283

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Last Updated on April 18, 2022 by Marie Benz MD FAAD