Trousseau's syndrome (cancer-associated thrombosis) is the second leading cause of death in cancer patients, after death from cancer itself. The risk of a venous thromboembolism is 4- to 7-fold higher in patients with cancer than in those without cancer. The causes of this impaired coagulation are associated with general patient-related risk factors, and other factors that are specific to the particular cancer or treatment. It is important to assess the risk of thrombotic events in cancer patients and administer effective prophylaxis and treatment. Effective prophylaxis and treatment of venous thromboembolism reduces morbidity and mortality, and improves patients' quality of life. Low molecular weight heparin is the first-line treatment for venous thromboembolism, as an effective and safe means for prophylaxis and treatment, according to guidelines released by international scientific societies. Oral anticoagulation therapy with warfarin is preferable to no therapy. However, warfarin has low efficacy and is associated with high rates of recurrence. If low molecular weight heparin is unavailable, some guidelines recommend the use of vitamin K antagonists that have a target international normalized ratio in the range of 2-3, as acceptable alternatives. Novel oral anticoagulants that directly inhibit factor Xa or thrombin are promising for the prophylaxis of high-risk cancer patients and in the long-term treatment of venous thromboembolism. However, to date, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of these new anticoagulants.
Keywords: Trousseau's syndrome; arterial thrombosis; cancer-associated thrombosis; pulmonary embolism; venous thromboembolism.
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