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Oncologist. 2014 Jan;19(1):82-93. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2013-0239. Epub 2013 Dec 6.

New oral anticoagulants and the cancer patient.

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Department of Medicine and Hematology Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Department of Medical Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Indications for anticoagulation are common in patients with malignancy. Cancer patients have an increased risk of developing venous thromboembolic events or may have other indications for anticoagulation, such as atrial fibrillation. New oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are now available that offer increased options for anticoagulation beyond the traditional vitamin K antagonists and low molecular weight heparins that have long been the cornerstone of treatment. This review will focus on the three NOACs that are currently approved for use in the U.S.: the direct thrombin inhibitor, dabigatran, and the factor Xa inhibitors, apixaban and rivaroxaban. Oncologists are likely to encounter an increasing number of patients taking these agents at the time of their cancer diagnosis or to have patients who develop indications for anticoagulation during the course of their disease. The basic pharmacology, current clinical indications, and approach to the use of NOACs in the cancer patient will be reviewed.


Anticoagulants; Cancer; Direct thrombin inhibitors; Factor Xa inhibitors; Venous thromboembolism

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