The role of mean platelet volume (MPV) remains unclear in most types of cancer, with data suggesting elevations in some cancers and other cancer types are associated with depressions. These findings from a systematic review were published in Current Oncology.

Platelets are produced by megakaryocytes in bone marrow, have a lifespan of 5 to 9 days, and play a major role in coagulation and hemostasis. Tumor cells contribute to the platelet activation process and platelets themselves play an important role in cancer progression and metastasis.

As such, MPV has been proposed as a marker for cancers, as it is noninvasive and not costly to evaluate; however, its role is not clearly understood in various cancer types.

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In 83 studies comprising 21,034 patients with 12 different types of cancer, this review found that MPV has been studied extensively in breast, colon, gastric, and lung cancers but not in other types.

In general, patients with breast, endometrium, gastric, thyroid, and lung cancers have elevated MPV whereas patients with gallbladder cancer and renal cell carcinoma have been observed to have reduced MPV. Trends in MPV are less clear in colon, esophageal, and ovarian cancers.

Perturbations in MPV levels are not fully understood; however, 4 of 6 studies in colon cancer and 4 of 10 studies in lung cancer indicated that elevated MPV was a marker for worse mortality outcomes.

The review authors concluded, “MPV can be used as a potential biomarker in cancer diagnosis and could be a useful tool for the optimization of treatment strategies. However, further studies are needed to elucidate the exact role of MPV in cancer progression and responsible underlying mechanisms.”


Detopoulou P, Panoutsopoulos GI, Mantoglou M, et al. Relation of mean platelet volume (MPV) with cancer: a systematic review with a focus on disease outcome on twelve types of cancer. Curr Oncol. 2023;30(3):3391-3420. doi:10.3390/curroncol30030258

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor