Mild Hyponatremia as an Early Marker for Intrathoracic Cancer: A Cohort Study

Yishai Mintzker, Umor Adler, Linoy Gabay, Tamar Banon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intrathoracic cancer can cause hyponatremia, but it is uncertain whether mild hyponatremia in the outpatient setting should be regarded as an early sign of intrathoracic cancer. Objectives: To evaluate the risk of undiagnosed intrathoracic cancer in patients with new persistent mild hyponatremia. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the electronic health record database of a large healthcare organization. The hyponatremia group included patients with sodium concentration of 130-134 mmol/L twice, after a previous normal value and without previous history of cancer or diseases related to hyponatremia. A control group with normal sodium concentration was matched by sex, age, and year of testing. We measured specific intrathoracic cancer incidence during 3 years of follow-up after sodium concentration test date. A logistic regression was used to adjust for further clinical information including smoking history, symptoms, and medications. Results: The study comprised 1539 participants with mild hyponatremia and 7624 matched controls. New intrathoracic cancer diagnosis was more common in the hyponatremia group during a 3-year follow-up; 1.49% in the hyponatremia group and 0.39% in the control group, crude odds ratio (OR) 3.84,95% confidence interval (95%CI) 2.22-6.63. After adjustment, hyponatremia remained a significant risk factor for the diagnosis of intrathoracic cancer; adjusted OR 3.61,95%CI 2.08-6.28. Conclusions: New mild persistent hyponatremia might be a significant predictive marker to a yet undiagnosed intrathoracic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-307
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Israel Medical Association. All rights reserved.


  • Lung neoplasms
  • cohort studies
  • diagnosis
  • early detection of cancer
  • hyponatremia


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