Introduction: The haemostatic system plays an important role in the process of cancer development and spread. Anticoagulants, mainly low molecular weight heparins, could prolong survival in cancer patients, particularly in patients with lung cancer, beyond prevention of thromboembolic events.
Methods: In a multicenter, investigator-initiated, open-label, randomized, sequential study, 38 patients with newly-diagnosed, limited-stage small-cell lung cancer were randomized to receive standard chemoradiotherapy or the same therapy plus 3,500 IU daily of bemiparin for a maximum of 26 weeks. The primary outcome was progression-free survival.
Results: The study was terminated early due to slow recruitment. Median progression-free survival was 272 days with chemoradiotherapy alone and 410 days in the bemiparin group; hazard ratio, 2.58 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15-5.80); p=0.022. Median overall survival was 345 days with chemoradiotherapy alone and 1133 days in the bemiparin group; hazard ratio, 2.96 (95% CI, 1.22-7.21); p=0.017. The rate of tumor response was similar in both study arms. There was no significant between-group difference in the rates of major bleeding. Toxicity related with the experimental treatment was minimal.
Conclusion: The addition of bemiparin to first line therapy with chemoradiotherapy significantly increases survival in patients with newly-diagnosed, limited-stage small-cell lung cancer. (Funded by the Instituto Científico y Tecnológico, University of Navarra. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00324558).
Keywords: Bemiparin; Bleeding; Low molecular weight heparin; Lung cancer; Survival; Venous thromboembolism.