A population-based study of cardiovascular disease mortality risk in US cancer patients

Kathleen M. Sturgeon, Lei Deng, Shirley M. Bluethmann, Shouhao Zhou, Daniel M. Trifiletti, Changchuan Jiang, Scott P. Kelly, Nicholas G. Zaorsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Aims This observational study characterized cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality risk for multiple cancer sites, with respect to the following: (i) continuous calendar year, (ii) age at diagnosis, and (iii) follow-up time after diagnosis. Methods The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program was used to compare the US general population to 3 and results 234 256 US cancer survivors (1973–2012). Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated using coded cause of death from CVDs (heart disease, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and aortic aneurysm/dissection). Analyses were adjusted by age, race, and sex. Among 28 cancer types, 1 228 328 patients (38.0%) died from cancer and 365 689 patients (11.3%) died from CVDs. Among CVDs, 76.3% of deaths were due to heart disease. In eight cancer sites, CVD mortality risk surpassed index-cancer mortality risk in at least one calendar year. Cardiovascular disease mortality risk was highest in survivors diagnosed at <35 years of age. Further, CVD mortality risk is highest (SMR 3.93, 95% confidence interval 3.89–3.97) within the first year after cancer diagnosis, and CVD mortality risk remains elevated throughout follow-up compared to the general population. Conclusion The majority of deaths from CVD occur in patients diagnosed with breast, prostate, or bladder cancer. We observed that from the point of cancer diagnosis forward into survivorship cancer patients (all sites) are at elevated risk of dying from CVDs compared to the general US population. In endometrial cancer, the first year after diagnosis poses a very high risk of dying from CVDs, supporting early involvement of cardiologists in such patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3889-3897
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean heart journal
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 21 2019


  • Epidemiology • cardio-oncology
  • Heart disease
  • Neoplasm
  • SEER

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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