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J Clin Oncol. 2000 May;18(10):2169-78.

Thromboembolic events during chemotherapy for germ cell cancer: a cohort study and review of the literature.

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Departments of Clinical Oncology, Medical Statistics, and Clinical Epidemiology, and Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Center, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.



To evaluate the risk of major thromboembolic complications in male germ cell cancer patients receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy and to review the literature on this subject.


One hundred seventy-nine germ cell cancer patients treated between January 1979 and May 1997 in our hospital were analyzed with respect to risk factors for developing thromboembolic events, such as baseline tumor characteristics, prior tumor therapy, administration of cytostatic agents, and the use of antiemetic drugs. The patients were treated with a variety of combination chemotherapy regimens, primarily cisplatin-containing combination regimens.


Of the 179 patients, 15 patients (8.4%) were identified who developed a total of 18 major thromboembolic complications in the time period between the start of chemotherapy and 6 weeks after administration of the last cytostatic drug in first-line treatment. Of these 18 events, three (16.7%) were arterial events, including two cerebral ischemic strokes, and 15 (83. 3%) were venous thromboembolic events, including 11 pulmonary embolisms. One (5.6%) of the 18 events was fatal. Liver metastases (odds ratio, 4.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 20.8) and the administration of high doses of corticosteroids (>/= 80 mg dexamethasone per cycle; odds ratio, 3.5; 95% confidence interval, 1. 2 to 10.3) as antiemetic therapy were identified as risk factors for the development of major thromboembolic complications.


Germ cell cancer patients who receive chemotherapy, in particular those who have liver metastases or receive high doses of corticosteroids, are at considerable risk of developing thromboembolic complications.

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