Venous thromboembolism in cancer patients: something old and something new

Stefanie Mundnich

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common and potentially fatal complication in oncologic patients. Due to a hypercoagulable state and reduced mobility, it is possible to find incidental pulmonary emboli on computed tomography. Patients with cancer may also develop complications of cancer treatments that further increase the risk of thrombotic events including surgical procedures; toxicity secondary to radiotherapy anti-angiogenic agents, hormonal therapyies, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. Proper risk assessment and thromboprophylaxis could mitigate this hazard, however, up to this date, almost all VTE scores studied have a poor dismriminatory performance. The risk factors that all of the have in common are a high body mass index over 35 kg/m2 and pancreatic or gastric cancer.