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01.12.2017 | Research Article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Breast Cancer Research 1/2017

Use of prescription drugs and risk of postoperative red blood cell transfusion in breast cancer patients: a Danish population-based cohort study

Breast Cancer Research > Ausgabe 1/2017
Anne Marie L. Thomsen, Alma B. Pedersen, Nickolaj R. Kristensen, Bjarne Kuno Møller, Christian Erikstrup, Peer M. Christiansen, Mette Nørgaard, Deirdre Cronin-Fenton
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13058-017-0926-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Several frequently used prescription drugs may affect bleeding risk. We investigated use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and statins and risk of postoperative red blood cell transfusion in breast cancer patients.


Using Danish population-based registries, we identified a cohort of women who underwent surgery for primary breast cancer (n = 22,238) during 2005–2012 and ascertained their use of aspirin, NSAIDs, SSRIs, and statins. For each drug, patients were categorized as users if they filled ≥1 prescription in the 60 days prior to surgery. We calculated the 14-day risk of red blood cell transfusion and relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), comparing users with nonusers for each drug and adjusting for age, cancer stage, and Charlson Comorbidity Index score.


In our cohort, 1385 (6.2%) women were aspirin users, 1794 (8.0%) were NSAID users, 1110 (4.9%) were SSRI users, and 2053 (9.1%) were statin users. The overall risk of red blood cell transfusion was 1.3%. The 14-day risk of RBC transfusion was 3.5% among aspirin users versus 1.1% among aspirin nonusers (adjusted RR = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.4–2.7), and 1.8% among SSRI users versus 1.2% among SSRI nonusers (adjusted RR = 1.2, 95% CI: 0.7–1.9). Red blood cell transfusion risk was increased among NSAID users, but not in a sensitivity analysis with a 30-day exposure window. Red blood cell transfusion risk was not increased among SSRI and statin users.


Primary breast cancer surgery confers a low risk of RBC transfusion. Still, use of aspirin and possibly NSAIDs, but not SSRIs and statins, is associated with increased red blood cell transfusion. This increased risk is not explained by differences in age, stage, or comorbidity level.
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