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Increased risk of cancer in patients with retinal vein occlusion: a 12-year nationwide cohort study
  1. Min Seok Kim1,
  2. Joon Hee Cho2,
  3. Seong Jun Byun1,
  4. Chang-Mo Oh3,
  5. Kyu Hyung Park1,
  6. Sang Jun Park1
  1. 1 Department of Ophthalmology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea (the Republic of)
  2. 2 Ophthalmology, Hyemin Eye Hospital, Seoul, Korea (the Republic of)
  3. 3 Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea (the Republic of)
  1. Correspondence to Sang Jun Park, Department of Ophthalmology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, 82, Gumi-ro 173 Beon-gil, Bundang-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi 13620, Korea (the Republic of); sangjunpark{at}


Aims To investigate the association between incident retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and the subsequent development of cancer.

Methods In this nationwide population-based retrospective study using 2002–2013 National Health Insurance Service database which covers the entire South Korean population, 186 701 incident RVO patients and their 1:1 propensity-score matched controls were included. We defined the fixed cohort from January 1st, 2004 to December 31st, 2013; the cohort included patients who suffered incident RVO after entering the cohort and their matched controls, and excluded patients having any cancer history before entering the cohort. The association of RVO and cancer was assessed by time-varying covariate Cox regression models; Model 1 included RVO as a time-varying covariate, Model 2 included Model 1 plus demographic information and Model 3 included Model 2 and comorbidities.

Results RVO was associated with an increased risk of subsequent cancer (HR=1.29; 95% CI, 1.26–1.31 in Model 1), which was consistent in Models 2 and 3. The incidence rate of overall cancer during the study period was 25.55 (95% CI, 25.19–25.91) per 1000 person-years in the RVO group and 18.62 (95% CI, 18.46–18.79) per 1000 person-years in the control group. In the subgroup analysis, haematological malignancies showed the highest association with RVO (HR=1.65; 95% CI, 1.49–1.83).

Conclusion Patients with RVO have an increased risk of subsequent cancer development even after adjusting for demographic factors and comorbidities. Further study is warranted to elucidate these associations to provide proper recommendations for RVO patients regarding the cancer screening.

  • Retina

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  • Meeting presentation: EURETINA 2019 Congress, Paris (September 5, 2019).

  • Contributors SJP contributed to the conception or design of work. SJB contributed to the data collection. All authors contributed to the data analysis and/or interpretation. MSK, KHP and SJP contributed to the drafting of the article and critical review of the article.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea [grant number: HI19C0373]. The funding organisations had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the institutional review board of the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (IRB No. X-1606-352-901).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data in this study cannot be made publicly available for ethical and legal restrictions.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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