Are patients with high-normal platelet counts at increased risk of cancer?

Who is involved?

Project Summary

Platelets are involved in blood clotting. The normal range is 150 – 400 x 109/l, and a platelet count of over 400 x 109/l is known as thrombocytosis. Thrombocytosis was recently found to indicate increased risk of cancer: our previous study found that 11.6% of men and 6.2% of women were diagnosed with cancer within one year of having a blood test showing thrombocytosis.

UK guidance for diagnosing cancer in primary care advises GPs to refer patients for further investigation for suspected cancer if their symptoms suggest a 3% or greater risk of cancer. The risk of cancer far exceeds 3% for patients with thrombocytosis, suggesting that those with a platelet count at the upper end of the normal range may also be at increased risk.

The present study aims to:

  1. Investigate the risk of cancer in patients with a high-normal platelet count.
  2. Explore which cancers patients with high-normal counts are most at risk of, and the cancer staging at diagnosis.
  3. Determine the platelet count at which patients exceed a 3% risk of cancer

We will do this by examining electronic medical records of patients with a platelet count in the normal range, and cancer registry records.



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