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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 46-53

Direct oral anticoagulants in cancer-associated venous thromboembolism

Department of General Surgery and Radiology, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow, Russian Federation , Russian Federation

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Irina Kanzafarova
10 Pistsovaya Str., Clinical Hospital No 24, Department of General Surgery and Radiology, Moscow, 127015
Russian Federation
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/VIT.VIT_11_20

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This is a narrative review of the relevant literature on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in cancer patients. In accordance with actual guidelines, the duration of anticoagulant therapy for cancer-associated venous thrombosis should be at least 6 months. The use of Vitamin K antagonists (VKA) is associated with an increased risk of VTE recurrence and bleeding, so low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH), in particular dalteparin, has been the “gold standard” until recently. Compared to VKA, prolonged use of LMWH can reduce the incidence of VTE recurrence without affecting the risk of bleeding or death. The main disadvantage of LMWH is low compliance, leading to premature discontinuation of treatment or switching to alternative anticoagulants. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have changed the situation. Compared to VKA, they demonstrated increased efficacy with similar or improved safety in patients with cancer-related VTE. Recently, the results of specialized studies comparing the use of DOACs to the use of dalteparin in cancer patients have been published: SELECT-D (rivaroxaban), HOKUSAI-VTE Cancer (edoxaban), ADAM VTE (apixaban), and CARAVAGGIO (apixaban). Rivaroxaban showed higher efficacy than dalteparin with a similar risk of major bleeding, but with an increased risk of clinically relevant nonmajor (CRNM) bleeding. Edoxaban had the same efficacy as dalteparin, though it showed an increased risk of major but not CRNM bleeding. Apixaban showed similar efficacy and safety as dalteparin in the CARAVAGGIO study, but did not provide higher safety in the ADAM VTE study. It was noted that gastrointestinal and urogenital bleeding dominated the structure of hemorrhagic complications of DOACs. The results of published trials are reflected in the current guidelines of the specialized societies. DOACs are recommended for VTE treatment in cancer patients.

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