Pattern of frequent but nontargeted pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis for hospitalized patients with cancer at academic medical centers: A prospective, cross-sectional, multicenter study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Clinical Oncology








Purpose: Hospitalized patients with cancer are considered to be at high risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Despite strong recommendations in numerous clinical practice guidelines, retrospective studies have shown that pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis is underutilized in hospitalized patients with cancer. Patients and Methods: We conducted a prospective, cross-sectional study of hospitalized patients with cancer at five academic hospitals to determine prescription rates of thromboprophylaxis and factors influencing its use during hospitalization. Results: A total of 775 patients with cancer were enrolled across five academic medical centers. Two hundred forty-seven patients (31.9%) had relative contraindications to pharmacologic prophylaxis. Accounting for contraindications to anticoagulation, the overall rate of pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis was 74.2% (95% CI, 70.4% to 78.0%; 392 of 528 patients). Among the patients with cancer without contraindications for anticoagulation, individuals hospitalized with nonhematologic malignancies were significantly more likely to receive pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis than those with hematologic malignancies (odds ratio [OR], 2.34; 95% CI, 1.43 to 3.82; P = .007). Patients with cancer admitted for cancer therapy were significantly less likely to receive pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis than those admitted for other reasons (OR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.22 to 0.61; P < .001). Sixty-three percent of patients with cancer classified as low risk, as determined by the Padua Scoring System, received anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis. Among the 136 patients who did not receive anticoagulation, 58.8% were considered to be high risk by the Padua Scoring System. Conclusion: We conclude that pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis is frequently administered to hospitalized patients with cancer but that nearly one third of patients are considered to have relative contraindications for prophylactic anticoagulation. Pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis in hospitalized patients with cancer is commonly prescribed without regard to the presence or absence of concomitant risk factors for VTE. © 2014 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.