An elevated platelet count has been associated with an increased incidence of cancer and poor survival for many cancer types. In this study, platelet levels were captured among cancer patients in the 2 years prior to and following a cancer diagnosis. I investigated if the trends in platelet count differ between patients that died or did not die from their cancer. For many cancer types, including colon, lung, ovary, and stomach, platelet counts rose as they approached the date of diagnosis. Patients that died from their cancer within 3 years of diagnosis had a higher peak platelet count than those who survived. Following diagnosis, platelet count was elevated among patients that died from their cancer as compared to patients who survived. An elevated platelet count could potentially indicate the presence of an occult cancer or be used as a prognostic measure for cancer-specific survival.
View full text