Prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in cancer patients remains controversial in most clinical settings.
The Italian Society for Haemostasis and Thrombosis (SISET) commissioned a project to develop clinical practice guidelines for the prevention of VTE in patients with malignancy.
Key questions concerning the prevention of VTE in patients with malignancy were formulated by a multidisciplinary working group consisting of experts in clinical medicine and research. After a systematic review and discussion of the literature, recommendations were formulated and graded according to the supporting evidence. For those questions for which the literature search did not find any definitive answers (due to absence of evidence, low quality evidence and/or contradictory evidence), a formal consensus method was used instead to issue clinical recommendations.
The search for “VTE prevention” resulted in 1021 citations; 69 articles were selected and 24 were used for drafting clinical recommendations. Four areas were graded A to C: 1) Need of prevention (pharmacological and/or mechanical) in cancer patients undergoing major abdominal or pelvic surgery and in 2) those with an acute medical disease requiring hospitalization and who are bedridden. Avoid prevention in 3) cancer patients with a central venous catheter and 4) those on chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormonal therapy, except patients with multiple myeloma treated with thalidomide/lenalidomide plus high-dose dexamethasone, and those with gastrointestinal or lung cancer. Six areas were considered to be clinically important, but lacked evidence from the literature and thus required a formal consensus (grade D): 1) need of prevention during chemo- radiotherapy or hormonal therapy in patients with previous VTE; 2) optimal duration of pharmacological prevention in patients who are hospitalized/bedridden for acute medical illness; 3) optimal duration of pharmacological prevention in patients undergoing major surgery other than abdominal and pelvic; 4) optimal duration of pharmacological prevention in myeloma patients receiving thalidomide plus dexamethasone; 5) presence of cerebral metastasis as a contraindication to pharmacological prevention; 6) prevention in cancer patients undergoing surgery by laparoscopic procedures lasting>30 min.
Results of the systematic literature review and an explicit approach to consensus techniques have led to recommendations for the most clinically important issues in the prevention of VTE in cancer patients.
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Published online: October 03, 2011
Accepted: September 8, 2011
Received in revised form: September 6, 2011
Received: May 29, 2011
© 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.