New Take on an Old Problem: Tackling VTE With Biomarkers, Risk Models, and Novel Drugs

Marijke Vroomen Durning, RN
Published: Wednesday, Mar 01, 2017
Alok Khorana, MD

Alok Khorana, MD

Despite advances in the oncology field, venous thromboembolism (VTE) remains a significant problem for patients with cancer. VTE, manifesting as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (PE), is the second-leading cause of death among patients with cancer, after cancer itself.1 It can also cause significant delays in treatment, and affect short- and long-term survival.

New oral anticoagulants have emerged as an attractive potential alternative for patients with cancer who develop VTE and their efficacy and safety are being investigated currently. Some experts, however, believe that clinicians are underusing current tools for managing VTE; therefore, educating patients, families, and providers about the signs and symptoms of VTE is of paramount importance since their awareness can save lives.

Defining VTE Risk Factors

Patients with cancer and those who have had previous VTE are among the highest risk groups for VTE. And, although all patients with cancer are at some risk of developing VTE, some cancers carry a higher risk (Table).
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