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Blood. 2013 Sep 5;122(10):1712-23. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-04-460121. Epub 2013 Aug 1.

Epidemiology of cancer-associated venous thrombosis.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Cancer-associated venous thrombosis is a common condition, although the reported incidence varies widely between studies depending on patient population, start and duration of follow-up, and the method of detecting and reporting thrombotic events. Furthermore, as cancer is a heterogeneous disease, the risk of venous thrombosis depends on cancer types and stages, treatment measures, and patient-related factors. In general, cancer patients with venous thrombosis do not fare well and have an increased mortality compared with cancer patients without. This may be explained by the more aggressive type of malignancies associated with this condition. It is hypothesized that thromboprophylaxis in cancer patients might improve prognosis and quality of life by preventing thrombotic events. However, anticoagulant treatment leads to increased bleeding, particularly in this patient group, so in case of proven benefit of thromboprophylaxis, only patients with a high risk of venous thrombosis should be considered. This review describes the literature on incidence of and risk factors for cancer-associated venous thrombosis, with the aim to provide a basis for identification of high-risk patients and for further development and refinement of prediction models. Furthermore, knowledge on risk factors for cancer-related venous thrombosis may enhance the understanding of the pathophysiology of thrombosis in these patients.

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