Prophylaxis and treatment of venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer


MUDr. Petr Kessler

Oddělení hematologie a transfüzioiogie, Nemocnice Pelhřimov



The patients with cancer are prone to developing venous thromboembolism. The thromboprophylaxis and treatment of thrombosis in these patients are thus somewhat different from prophylaxis and treatment of thrombosis in patients without cancer.

Low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) are the best choice for pharmacological thromboprophylaxis. The pharmacological postoperative thromboprophylaxis should be extended to 4 weeks in patients undergoing large surgery (including laparoscopic surgery) for malignancy. The intermittent pneumatic compression or foot pumps are reasonable alternatives to LMWH in patients with very high risk of severe bleeding. The pharmacological thromboprophylaxis is recommended for patients with cancer, which are hospitalized for an acute illness or confined to bed. The pharmacological thromboprophylaxis is not generally recommended for ambulatory patients undergoing chemotherapy; it should be considered in patients with history of venous thromboembolism or multiple additional risk factors for thrombosis. The pharmacological thromboprophylaxis with LMWH is useful for patients undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer or lung cancer. LMWH is the best choice for most multiple myeloma patients undergoing therapy with the exception of patients which are not treated with imids or with anthracyclines combined with high dose of dexamethasone. Aspirin is an acceptable alternative to LMWH in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma, which are treated with imids monotherapy or using combination of imids with low dose of corticosteroids. Venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer should be treated with therapeutic dose of LMWH for 1 month; the dose can be reduced to 2/3-3/4 thereafter. Edoxaban is an alternative to LMWH with comparable efficacy and safety. The therapy should be re-evaluated after 6 months; subsequent therapy using LMWH or warfarin is recommended indefinitely, unless the cancer is resolved or any major contraindication of this therapy arises.



venous thromboembolism, cancer, LMWH, warfarin, thromboprophylaxis, edoxaban



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