Cancer-Associated Thrombosis: Risk Factors, Molecular Mechanisms, Future Management

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Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a major health problem in patients with cancer. Cancer augments thrombosis and causes cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT) and vice versa thrombosis amplifies cancer progression, termed thrombosis-associated cancer (TAC). Risk factors that lead to CAT and TAC include cancer type, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy, anti-angiogenesis therapy, surgery, or supportive therapy with hematopoietic growth factors. There are some other factors that have an effect on CAT and TAC such as tissue factor, neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) released in response to cancer, cancer procoagulant, and cytokines. Oncogenes, estrogen hormone, and thyroid hormone with its integrin αvβ3 receptor promote angiogenesis. Lastly, patient-related factors can play a role in development of thrombosis in cancer. Low-molecular-weight heparin and direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are used in VTE prophylaxis and treatment rather than vitamin K antagonist. Now, there are new directions for potential management of VTE in patients with cancer such as euthyroid, blockade of thyroid hormone receptor on integrin αvβ3, sulfated non-anticoagulant heparin, inhibition of NETs and stratifying low and high-risk patients with significant bleeding problems with DOACs.

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