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Ther Adv Hematol. 2012 Feb;3(1):45-58. doi: 10.1177/2040620711422590.

Prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer.

Abstract

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the second leading cause of death and a major cause of morbidity in patients with cancer. Pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis is recommended in all hospitalized cancer patients without contraindications to anticoagulants. The role of thromboprophylaxis in outpatients undergoing chemotherapy is less certain because of the diversity of the tumor types and their associated risks of VTE and bleeding. Thromboprophylaxis should only be considered in patients at high risk for VTE. Cancer patients with a newly diagnosed VTE should be preferably treated with low-molecular-weight heparin for a minimum of 3-6 months. Treatment duration should be individualized based on the clinical status and stage of the cancer, the risk of recurrent VTE, the risk of bleeding, and personal preference of the patient. Further research is required to assess the role of the new oral anticoagulants (direct Xa and thrombin inhibitors) for this high-risk population.

KEYWORDS:

anticoagulants; low-molecular-weight heparins; neoplasm; thromboprophylaxis; venous thromboembolism

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