Impact of multimorbidity and polypharmacy on mortality after cancer: a nationwide registry-based cohort study in Denmark 2005–2017

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Background: Concurrent chronic diseases and treatment hereof in patients with cancer may increase mortality. In this population-based study we examined the individual and combined impact of multimorbidity and polypharmacy on mortality, across 20 cancers and with 13-years follow-up in Denmark. Materials and Methods: This nationwide study included all Danish residents with a first primary cancer diagnosed between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2015, and followed until the end of 2017. We defined multimorbidity as having one or more of 20 chronic conditions in addition to cancer, registered in the five years preceding diagnosis, and polypharmacy as five or more redeemed medications 2–12 months prior to cancer diagnosis. Cox regression analyses were used to estimate the effects of multimorbidity and polypharmacy, as well as the combined effect on mortality. Results: A total of 261,745 cancer patients were included. We found that patients diagnosed with breast, prostate, colon, rectal, oropharynx, bladder, uterine and cervical cancer, malignant melanoma, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and leukemia had higher mortality when the cancer diagnosis was accompanied by multimorbidity and polypharmacy, while in patients with cancer of the lung, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, ovarian and brain & central nervous system, these factors had less impact on mortality. Conclusion: We found that multimorbidity and polypharmacy was associated with higher mortality in patients diagnosed with cancer types that typically have a favorable prognosis compared with patients without multimorbidity and polypharmacy. Multimorbidity and polypharmacy had less impact on mortality in cancers that typically have a poor prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1653-1660
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Acta Oncologica Foundation.

    Research areas

  • Mortality, multimorbidity, polypharmacy, prognosis

ID: 371746280