Thrombotic microangiopathies and antineoplastic agents

Nephrol Ther. 2017 Apr:13 Suppl 1:S109-S113. doi: 10.1016/j.nephro.2017.01.016.


Thrombotic microangiopathy is a well-described complication of cancer treatment. Its incidence has increased these last decades, as a result of a better awareness of this complication in cancer patients in one hand, but also of a larger array of therapeutic compounds including anti-vascular endothelium growth factor (VEGF) drugs. It is therefore mandatory to recognize these conditions since they have a significant impact in thrombotic microangiopathies management and prognosis. Practitioners should be aware of the more classical antineoplastic agents associated with thrombotic microangiopathies, the mechanisms by which they induce them, and the resulting management and prognosis. Since malignancy itself can induce thrombotic microangiopathies, it is also mandatory to know how to distinguish rapidly those caused by antineoplastic agents from those associated with cancer, for an adapted management. Thrombotic microangiopathies associated with chemotherapy remain of dismal prognosis. A better understanding of pathophysiology in these forms of thrombotic microangiopathies, in association with a more empirical approach through the use of new therapeutic agents that can also help in the understanding on new mechanisms a posteriori, should improve their prognosis. The preliminary encouraging results reported with complement blockers in this field could represent a convincing example.

Keywords: Antineoplastic drug; Complement system; Eculizumab; Gemcitabine; Thrombotic microangiopathy; Vascular endothelial growth factor.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Thrombotic Microangiopathies / chemically induced*
  • Thrombotic Microangiopathies / epidemiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents