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Blood. 2007 Sep 15;110(6):1723-9. Epub 2007 May 11.

Trousseau's syndrome: multiple definitions and multiple mechanisms.

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University of California, San Diego, La Jolla CA 92093-0687, USA.


In 1865, Armand Trousseau noted that unexpected or migratory thrombophlebitis could be a forewarning of an occult visceral malignancy. An analysis by Sack and colleagues in 1977 extended the term Trousseau's syndrome to include chronic disseminated intravascular coagulopathy associated with microangiopathy, verrucous endocarditis, and arterial emboli in patients with cancer, often occurring with mucin-positive carcinomas. In recent times the term has been ascribed to various clinical situations, ranging all the way from these classic descriptions to any kind of coagulopathy occurring in the setting of any kind of malignancy. These multiple definitions of Trousseau's syndrome are partly the consequence of multiple pathophysiologic mechanisms that apparently contribute to the hypercoagulability associated with cancer. Even the classic syndrome probably represents a spectrum of disorders, ranging from exaggerated fluid-phased thrombosis dependent on prothrombotic agents such as tissue factor to a platelet- and endotheliumum-based selectin-dependent microangiopathy associated with mucin-producing carcinomas, along with thrombin and fibrin production. Also considered here are recent hypotheses about genetic pathways within tumor cells that might trigger these thrombotic phenomena, and the reasons why therapy with heparins of various kinds remain the preferred treatment, probably because of their salutary actions on several of the proposed pathologic mechanisms.

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