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Cancer-associated venous thromboembolism: Treatment and prevention with rivaroxaban

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Published:3rd Apr 2020
Author: Bauersachs R, Khorana AA, Lee AYY, Soff G.
Availability: Free full text
Ref.:Res Pract Thromb Haemost. 2020 Apr 4;4(4):532-549.
DOI:10.1002/rth2.12327.
Cancer-associated venous thromboembolism: Treatment and prevention with rivaroxaban


Cancer-associated venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a frequent, potentially life-threatening event that complicates cancer management. Anticoagulants are the cornerstone of therapy for the treatment and prevention of cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT); factor Xa-inhibiting direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs; apixaban, edoxaban, and rivaroxaban), which have long been recommended for the treatment of VTE in patients without cancer, have been investigated in this setting. The first randomized comparisons of DOACs against low-molecular-weight heparin for the treatment of CAT indicated that DOACs are efficacious in this setting, with findings reflected in recent updates to published guidance on CAT treatment. However, the higher risk of bleeding events (particularly in the gastrointestinal tract) with DOACs highlights the need for appropriate patient selection. Further insights will be gained from additional studies that are ongoing or awaiting publication. The efficacy and safety of DOAC thromboprophylaxis in ambulatory patients with cancer at a high risk of VTE have also been assessed in placebo-controlled randomized controlled trials of apixaban and rivaroxaban. Both studies showed efficacy benefits with DOACs, but both studies also showed a nonsignificant increase in major bleeding events while on treatment. This review summarizes the evidence base for rivaroxaban use in CAT, the patient profile potentially most suited to DOAC use, and ongoing controversies under investigation. We also describe ongoing studies from the CALLISTO (Cancer Associated thrombosis-expLoring soLutions for patients through Treatment and Prevention with RivarOxaban) program, which comprises several randomized clinical trials and real-world evidence studies, including investigator-initiated research.


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