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, 5 (11), 655-63

Pancreatic Cancer and Thromboembolic Disease


Pancreatic Cancer and Thromboembolic Disease

Alok A Khorana et al. Lancet Oncol.


Thromboembolic disease is a common complication of pancreatic cancer and is causally associated with the generation of an intrinsic hypercoagulable state. Pancreatic-cancer cells activate platelets and express several procoagulant factors, including tissue factor and thrombin. The activation of coagulation is not simply an epiphenomenon, but might also be related to enhanced tumour growth and angiogenesis. Clinical manifestations of thromboembolic disease in pancreatic cancer include deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, disseminated intravascular coagulation, portal vein thrombosis, and arterial thromboembolism. Reported incidences of disease range from 17% to 57%. Treatment options include warfarin and low-molecular-weight heparins. Studies over the past decade suggest that long-term use of these heparins in both primary and secondary prevention of venous thromboembolic disease improves outcomes in comparison with warfarin. Further research is needed to understand better the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease in pancreatic cancer and to optimise strategies of prevention and treatment.

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