Therapeutic approaches to coagulopathy in cancer patients

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



U.S. Pharmacist






In the United States, it is estimated that the frequency of venous thromboembolism (VTE) among cancer patients is approximately 1 in 200. Aggressive prophylaxis and treatment of thrombotic events should be initiated in this patient population, and research shows that heparins are effective in the prevention and treatment of VTE - and possibly survival - in oncology patients. Oncology patients have a sevenfold overall increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) when compared to patients without malignancy and are two to three times more likely to develop postoperative thrombosis. Oncology patients who develop VTE are also at increased risk for recurrent thrombosis compared to nononcology patients (hazard ratio, 1.72). Venous thrombosis is the second leading cause of death among oncology patients, after malignancy itself. In addition, thrombosis may be a presenting symptom of malignancy. An almost 10-fold increased incidence of cancer is seen in patients who have recurrent idiopathic deep vein thrombosis (DVT) without known risk factors for thrombosis.

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