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Injectable Treatment for Blood Clots in Advanced Cancer Patients Increases, According to New Research
Date:2/14/2012

DENVER, Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The use of an injectable, clot-preventing drug known as Low Molecular Weight Heparin to treat patients with advanced cancer complicated by blood clots increased steadily between 2000 and 2007, according to a new study published in The Oncologist, funded by the National Cancer Institute and led by Kaiser Permanente Colorado. However, despite previous research indicating LMWH is the preferred first-line treatment for cancer patients experiencing blood clots, use of LMWH is low compared to another commonly used anticoagulant, warfarin.

The study was conducted by a team of Kaiser Permanente researchers from Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Northern California, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Group Health Research Institute, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle.

Venous thromboembolism, or blood clots, are common and serious complications in cancer patients. Anticoagulation drugs work to prevent additional clots from forming while the body partially or completely dissolves the initial clot.

The study examined data from electronic health records of four health plans participating in the Cancer Research Network, a consortium of integrated health plans that pool data for research. Patients were identified with advanced breast cancer, colorectal, lung or prostate cancer who received treatment between January 2000 and December 2008 at Group Health Cooperative and Kaiser Permanente regions in Colorado, Northern California, and Oregon and Washington.

Over the entire study period, 25 percent of patients received LMWH as a primary treatment for blood clots. A majority of patients, 74 percent overall, received warfarin-based therapy.

"Blood clots are a frequent complication in patients with cancer, so it's essential to understand patterns of care and adherence to guideline recommendations for them," said Tom Delate, PhD, study lead author. "Current medical literature on this topic
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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