VTE prophylaxis – should this be routine for all cancer patients?

By February 17, 2012Pharma Beat

Results from the largest study to date on the use of thromboprophylaxis in cancer patients on chemotherapy were published this week in the Feb. 16th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Since cancer increases the risk of VTE, which is further increased by chemotherapy, this paper stirs up the debate surrounding the use of routine thromboprophylaxis in these patients. The SAVE-ONCO study found that use of a hemisynthetic ultra-low-molecular-weight heparin (ultra-LMWH), semuloparin (Visamerin, Sanofi), in cancer patients who were starting chemotherapy experienced significantly fewer thromboemobolic events without an increased risk of clinically-relevant bleeding. However, the study ultimately may not have put to rest the role of risk stratification for VTE prophylaxis, since the absolute risk of VTE was quite low overall, and some subgroups, such as those with ovarian cancer, experienced almost no events.

– Deborah