D-Dimer test in cancer patients with suspected acute pulmonary embolism.J Thromb Haemost. 2005 Jun; 3(6):1239-42.JT
The safety of a D-dimer (DD) measurement in cancer patients with clinically suspected pulmonary embolism (PE) is unclear.
The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of the DD test in consecutive patients with clinically suspected PE with and without cancer.
The diagnostic accuracy of DD (Tinaquant D-dimer) was first retrospectively assessed in an unselected group of patients referred for suspected PE (n = 350). Subsequently, the predictive value of the DD was validated in a group of consecutive inpatients and outpatients with clinically suspected PE prospectively enrolled in a management study (n = 519). The results of the DD test in cancer patients were assessed according to the final diagnosis of PE and the 3-month clinical follow-up.
In the first study group, DD showed a sensitivity and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 100% and 100% in patients with cancer and 97% and 98% in those without malignancy, respectively. In the validation cohort, the sensitivity and NPV of DD were both 100% (95% CI 82%-100% and 72%-100%, respectively), whereas in patients without malignancy, the corresponding estimates were 93% (95% CI 87%-98%) and 97% (95% CI, 95%-99%), respectively. The specificity of DD was low in patients with (21%) and without cancer (53%).
A negative DD result safely excludes the diagnosis of PE in patients with cancer. Because of the low specificity, when testing 100 patients with suspected PE, a normal DD concentration safely excludes PE in 15 patients with cancer and in 43 patients without cancer.