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Revisiting Prevention of Blood Clots in Chemotherapy Patients
Date:11/8/2013

Durham, NC (PRWEB) November 08, 2013

A large-scale analysis assessing the real-world risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), commonly called blood clots, among chemotherapy patients shows a greater occurrence of VTE than identified in clinical trials, with a progressively increased risk during the year following treatment initiation. The study shows that outpatients receiving chemotherapy are at high risk of developing VTE and of major bleeding complications, especially those with pancreas, stomach and lung cancer. The authors therefore conclude that thromboprophylaxis, or blood thinning treatments, should be considered for such patients, after carefully assessing the risks and benefits of treatment.

The study, led by Gary H. Lyman, MD, at the Duke University School of Medicine and Duke Cancer Institute, in collaboration with scientists from Sanofi and King’s College Hospital in London, UK was published online this week in The Oncologist. The team of researchers hypothesized that there is a definable high-risk cohort of patients who would benefit from thromboprophylactic treatment for VTE and that the scope of this risk warrants consideration for the use of prophylaxes such as low- and ultra-low-molecular-weight heparins, which recent studies have found to be safe and effective for use in the prevention of VTE in chemotherapy patients.

The study involved a random sample of approximately 27,500 patients with high-VTE-risk cancer types (i.e., lung, pancreas, stomach, colon/rectum, bladder or ovary) who had undergone chemotherapy. The group retrospectively evaluated the patients’ VTE risk as well as their risk of bleeding and the economic burden borne by the patient as a result of the disease.

The risk of VTE increased over time, with a greater percentage of patients developing the complication at 12 months after initiation of chemotherapy than at 3 months; this held true across three definitions of VTE co
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