Cancer and thrombosis: Managing the risks and approaches to thromboprophylaxis.
In: Onkologie, No. 10: pp. 474-478
Patients with cancer are at increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) compared with patients without cancer. This results from both the prothrombotic effects of the cancer itself and iatrogenic factors, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, indwelling central venous devices and surgery, that further increase the risk of VTE. Although cancer-associated thrombosis remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality, it is often underdiagnosed and undertreated. However, evidence is accumulating to support the use of low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs) in the secondary prevention of VTE in patients with cancer. Not only have LMWHs been shown to be at least as effective as coumarin derivatives in this setting, but they have a lower incidence of complications, including bleeding, and are not associated with the practical problems of warfarin therapy. Furthermore, a growing number of studies indicate that LMWHs may improve survival among patients with cancer due to a possible antitumor effect. Current evidence suggests that LMWHs should increasingly be considered for the long-term management of VTE in patients with cancer.