Direct Oral Anticoagulants in Patients with Cancer

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Purpose:This review summarizes the available evidence concerning direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) use to treat venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with cancer as well as pertinent safety data on the use of DOACs in patients with both cancer and atrial fibrillation.

Summary:The introduction of DOACs into clinical practice changed the way thrombotic complications are managed and prevented in diverse patient populations, including VTE and atrial fibrillation. Low-molecular-weight heparins have been the standard of care for treating VTE in cancer patients due to superiority over vitamin K antagonists in preventing recurrent VTE. Therefore, widespread DOAC use for VTE in patients with active cancer has not been adopted.

Conclusion:Recent randomized clinical trials (SELECT-D, Hokusai VTE Cancer) have provided evidence that DOACs may have a role in treating VTE in cancer patients.