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Ann Oncol. 2006 Feb;17(2):289-96. Epub 2005 Nov 29.

Dalteparin for prevention of catheter-related complications in cancer patients with central venous catheters: final results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial.

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  • 1Evang. Johannes-Krankenhaus, Medizinische Klinik, Bielefeld, Germany.



Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy experience thromboembolic complications associated with the use of long-term indwelling central venous catheters (CVCs). This prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study evaluated whether prophylactic treatment with a low molecular weight heparin could prevent clinically relevant catheter-related thrombosis.


Patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy for at least 12 weeks (n=439) were randomly assigned, in a 2:1 ratio, to receive either dalteparin (5000 IU) or placebo, by subcutaneous injection, once daily for 16 weeks. Patients underwent upper extremity evaluation with either venography or ultrasound at the time of a suspected catheter-related complication (CRC) or upon completion of study medication. The primary end point, as determined by a blinded adjudication committee, was the occurrence of a CRC, defined as the first occurrence of any one of the following: clinically relevant catheter-related thrombosis that was symptomatic or that required anticoagulant or fibrinolytic therapy; catheter-related clinically relevant pulmonary embolism; or catheter obstruction requiring catheter removal.


There was no significant difference in the frequency of CRCs between the dalteparin arm (3.7%) and the placebo arm (3.4%; P=0.88), corresponding to a relative risk of 1.0883 (95% confidence interval 0.37-3.19). No difference in the time to CRC was observed between the two arms (P=0.83). There was no significant difference between the dalteparin and placebo groups in terms of major bleeding (1 versus 0) or overall safety.


Dalteparin prophylaxis did not reduce the frequency of thromboembolic complications after CVC implantation in cancer patients. Dalteparin was demonstrated to be safe over 16 weeks of treatment in these patients.

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