Arterial and Venous Thromboembolism in ALK-Rearrangement-Positive Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: A Population-Based Cohort Study

Oded Icht, Avi Leader, Erez Batat, Lilach Yosef, Tzippy Shochat, Daniel A. Goldstein, Elizabeth Dudnik, Galia Spectre, Pia Raanani, Ariel Hammerman, Alona Zer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: There is scarce data regarding the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and arterial thromboembolism (ATE) in the molecular subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We aimed to investigate the association between Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK)-positive NSCLC and thromboembolic events. Methods: A retrospective population-based cohort study of the Clalit Health Services database, included patients with NSCLC diagnosed between 2012 and 2019. Patients exposed to ALK-tyrosine-kinase inhibitors (TKIs) were defined as ALK-positive. The outcome was VTE (at any site) or ATE (stroke or myocardial infarction) 6 months prior to the diagnosis of cancer, until 5 years post-diagnosis. The cumulative incidence of VTE and ATE and hazard-ratios (HR) with 95% CIs were calculated (at 6- 12- 24 and 60-months), using death as a competing risk. Cox proportional hazards multivariate regression was performed, with the Fine and Gray correction for competing risks. Results: The study included 4762 patients, of which 155 (3.2%) were ALK-positive. The overall 5-year VTE incidence was 15.7% (95% CI, 14.7-16.6%). ALK-positive patients had a higher VTE risk compared to ALK-negative patients (HR 1.87 [95% CI, 1.31-2.68]) and a 12-month VTE incidence of 17.7% (13.9-22.7%) compared to 9.9% (9.1-10.9%) in ALK-negative patients. The overall 5-year ATE incidence was 7.6% [6.8-8.6%]. ALK positivity was not associated with ATE incidence (HR 1.24 [0.62-2.47]). Conclusions: In this study, we observed a higher VTE risk, but not ATE risk, in patients with ALK-rearranged NSCLC relative to those without ALK rearrangement. Prospective studies are warranted to evaluate thromboprophylaxis in ALK-positive NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E391-E396
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)
  • arterial thromboembolism
  • thrombosis
  • venous thromboembolism


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