Reduced blood fibrinolytic activity (FA) has been postulated in cancer. It is good to know if this is also the case in Africans with breast cancer. Africans are known to possess enhanced fibrinolysis. This study was designed to assess the effect of breast cancer on fibrinolytic activity and the effect of mastectomy on fibrinolysis in African women.
Sixty histo-patholically proven breast cancer patients aged 25 - 45 years were compared with 50 healthy age-matched controls. Plasma fibrinogen levels and euglobulin lysis time (ELT) were estimated in breast cancer patients and the controls.
Patients with breast cancer had significantly increased fibrinogen levels euglobulin lysis time (P<0.001) compared with controls. There was significant mean difference between pre and post-mastectomy fibrinogen and euglobulin lysis time values (p<0.05). Progressive significant decrease in fibrinogen levels and euglobulin lysis time values (P<0.05) were observed over the weeks studied respectively. African women with breast cancer have defective fibrin clearing which could predispose them to thrombotic diathesis and early mastectomy may be beneficial. We suggest that fibrinolytic components may be a prognostic marker for breast cancer.