Background: Long-term low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) is the current standard for treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in cancer patients. Whether treatment strategies should vary according to individual risk of VTE recurrence remains unknown. We performed a retrospective cohort study and a validation study in patients with cancer-associated VTE to derive a clinical prediction rule that stratifies VTE recurrence risk.
Methods and results: The cohort study of 543 patients determined the model with the best classification performance included 4 independent predictors (sex, primary tumor site, stage, and prior VTE) with 100% sensitivity, a wide separation of recurrence rates, 98.1% negative predictive value, and a negative likelihood ratio of 0.16. In this model, the score sum ranged between -3 and 3 score points. Patients with a score ≤ 0 had low risk (≤ 4.5%) for recurrence and patients with a score >1 had a high risk (≥ 19%) for VTE recurrence. Subsequently, we applied and validated the rule in an independent set of 819 patients from 2 randomized, controlled trials comparing low-molecular-weight heparin to coumarin treatment in cancer patients.
Conclusions: By identifying VTE recurrence risk in cancer patients with VTE, we may be able to tailor treatment, improving clinical outcomes while minimizing costs.