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Management of Thrombohemorrhagic Syndromes (THS) in hematologic malignancies.

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  • 1The George Washington University, 3910 Highwood Ct, NW, Washington DC 20007, USA.


The rate of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with acute leukemia or lymphomas is comparable with that of other "high-risk" cancer types. Chemotherapy and anti-angiogenic drugs increase the thrombotic risk in patients with lymphomas, acute leukemias and multiple myeloma (MM). Patients with hematologic malignancies often present with a hypercoagulable state or chronic disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in the absence of active thrombosis and/or bleeding. Malignant cell procoagulant properties, cytotoxic therapies, and concomitant infections are major determinants for clotting activation in hematologic malignancies. In acute leukemia, clinical manifestations range from localized venous or arterial thrombosis to a diffuse, life-threatening thrombohemorrhagic syndrome (THS). All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has greatly improved the management of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), but has not significantly changed the rate of early hemorrhagic deaths and may actually promote thrombosis. Randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) of different prophylactic regimens to prevent VTE or THS in hematologic malignancies are urgently needed, particularly in patients with lymphoma or MM during chemotherapy and in patients with APL. Anticoagulant therapy is a particular challenge in patients with hematologic malignancies, since these patients are at very high risk for hemorrhage. No guidelines are available for the prophylaxis or treatment of VTE; extrapolations can be made from existing guidelines for management of patients with other malignancies; prolonged periods of treatment-induced thrombocytopenia in patients with hematologic malignancies, however, require a more judicious application of standard anticoagulant approaches. Use of the newer anticoagulants will require careful assessment of hemorrhagic risk in this group of high-risk patients but may be justified under special circumstances.

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