Warfarin: an acceptable treatment for cancer-associated thrombosis

5 Dec 2015

The standard treatment for cancer patients who develop blood clots is three to six months of anticoagulant therapy with low-molecular-weight heparin. Yet, there are little data to support the best ongoing anti-clotting therapy beyond six months.

Clinical study with more than 1,000 participants

A recent study evaluated the records of 1,502 patients with cancer-associated thrombosis. Investigators selected patients who had completed treatment with low-molecular-weight heparin for six months and divided them into two groups – one group of 763 patients continued to receive low-molecular-weight heparin and the other group of 739 patients was switched to warfarin, another type of anticoagulant.

Because low-molecular-weight heparin requires self-injections, warfarin is often thought to be preferred because it can be taken in pill form.

CareAcross-thrombosis

Clinical results

After analyzing the results, the scientists reported that:

  • The cumulative incidence of major bleeding was 2.6% in the low-molecular-weight heparin group and 2.7% in the warfarin group.
  • The cumulative incidence of total bleeding was 6.7% in the low-molecular-weight heparin group and seven% in the warfarin group.

The study found that switching to warfarin is not associated with an increase in recurrent VTE, major bleeding, or total bleeding when compared to continuing low-molecular-weight heparin. Researchers concluded that warfarin is an acceptable alternative for low-molecular-weight heparin for patients with cancer-associated thrombosis.

Source: eCancer News
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