(HealthDay News) – People with newly diagnosed heart failure are significantly more likely to develop cancer than community controls.

To examine the risk of cancer in patients with heart failure, Tal Hasin, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues conducted a case-control study involving 596 pairs of newly diagnosed patients with heart failure and community age- and gender-matched controls without heart failure, all without prior history of cancer, identified from Olmsted County in Minnesota.

The researchers found that patients with heart failure had an increased prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), previous myocardial infarction (MI), and peripheral vascular disease (PVD). In 9,201 person-years of follow-up, after adjustment for age, sex, and year, patients with heart failure had a significantly higher risk of developing cancer (hazard ratio, 1.57). This was unchanged after further adjustment for body mass index, prior MI, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, PVD, dementia, and COPD (hazard ratio, 1.58). The hazard ratios were not significantly different for men and women (P=0.68), with a stronger trend for those <75 years (P=0.09). Patients with heart failure with incident cancer had a significantly increased risk of death (hazard ratio, 1.46), after adjustment for age, sex, year, year of heart failure, and comorbidities.

“These findings underscore the importance of non-cardiac morbidity in heart failure and raise the issue of primary and secondary cancer prevention efforts among heart failure patients,” the authors write.

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