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Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2007 Sep;19(7):494-8. Epub 2007 May 21.

High plasma D-dimer level is associated with decreased survival in patients with lung cancer.

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Department of Chest Disease, Trakya University Hospital, 22030 Edirne, Turkey.



An elevated plasma D-dimer level indicates the activation of coagulation and fibrinolysis. In the present study, we investigated the association of pre-treatment haemostatic parameters (D-dimer, fibrinogen and prothrombin fragment 1+2) with clinicopathological parameters and outcome in patients with lung cancer.


Plasma levels of D-dimer and other parameters were measured in 78 evaluable patients with lung cancer (60 non-small cell lung cancers, 18 small cell lung cancers). At diagnosis, 35 patients (44.9%) were locally advanced stage (IIIA/B) and 43 patients (55.1%) had metastatic disease (IV). Multivariate statistical analysis was carried out using Cox's proportional hazards model. The receiver operating characteristic curve was used to determine the cut-off values for D-dimer, fibrinogen and prothrombin fragment 1+2.


The median survival for all patients was 264 days (95% confidence interval 200-328 days). A significant association between the plasma levels of D-dimer and the response to chemotherapy was observed (P=0.03). With the univariate analysis, tumour stage, pre-treatment plasma levels of D-dimer, fibrinogen, platelet count, lactate dehydrogenase concentration and Karnofsky performance status were predictive for survival. With the multivariate analysis (P< or =0.1), the plasma level of D-dimer (P<0.001), tumour stage (P=0.01) and Karnofsky performance status (P=0.02) were identified as independent predictive factors. The median survival times were 405 days (95% confidence interval 165-644 days) and 207 days (95% confidence interval 146-267 days, P<0.001), respectively, for patients with a low D-dimer level (< or =0.65 microg/ml) and a high D-dimer level (>0.65 microg/ml).


Elevated plasma levels of D-dimer in patients with lung cancer are associated with decreased survival and a poor response to treatment. Pre-treatment for the D-dimer level may be useful in the prediction of survival and the response to treatment.

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