Tissue factor pathway inhibitor: an update of potential implications in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2001 Nov;10(11):1925-35. doi: 10.1517/13543784.10.11.1925.


Tissue factor (TF) plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of thrombotic, vascular and inflammatory disorders. Thus, the inhibition of this membrane protein provides a unique therapeutic approach for prophylaxis and/or treatment of various diseases. Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI), the only endogenous inhibitor of the TF/Factor VIIa (FVIIa) complex, has recently been characterised biochemically and pharmacologically. Studies in patients demonstrated that both TF and TFPI may be indicators for the course and the outcome of cardiovascular and other diseases. Based on experimental and clinical data, TFPI might become an important drug for several clinical indications. TFPI is expected to inhibit the development of post-injury intimal hyperplasia and thrombotic occlusion in atherosclerotic vessels as well as to be effective in acute coronary syndromes, such as unstable angina and myocardial infarction. Of special interest is the inhibition of TF-mediated processes in sepsis and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), which are associated with the activation of various inflammatory pathways as well as of the coagulation system. A Phase II trial of the efficacy of TFPI in patients with severe sepsis showed a mortality reduction in TFPI- compared to placebo-treated patients and an improvement of organ dysfunctions. TFPI can be administered exogenously in high doses to suppress TF-mediated effects, alternatively high amounts of TFPI can be released from intravascular stores by other drugs, such as heparin and low molecular weight heparins (LMWH). Using this method high concentrations of the inhibitor are provided at sites of tissue damage and ongoing thrombosis. At present, clinical studies with TFPI are rather limited so that the clinical potential of the drug cannot be assessed properly. However, TFPI and its variants are expected to undergo further development and to find indications in various clinical states.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Heparin / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / physiology
  • Lipoproteins / therapeutic use*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Lipoproteins
  • lipoprotein-associated coagulation inhibitor
  • Heparin