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Most of the current clinical guidelines recommend the use of Low Molecular Weight Heparins (LMWHs) for cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT). The Hokusai VTE-cancer trial reported the first results of a direct comparison between a direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC), edoxaban, and LMWH in this setting. Areas covered: This review aims to critically appraise the currently available evidence on the efficacy and safety of anticoagulant agents for the long-term treatment of CAT and to provide an expert opinion and guidance in this field. Expert opinion: Based on the available evidence, DOACs represent a valid alternative to LMWH for the treatment of CAT for the majority of patients with active cancer. Currently, most solid evidence comes from the HOKUSAI-VTE cancer study, which showed that edoxaban is non-inferior to the LMWH dalteparin, with a trend toward fewer recurrent venous thromboembolic events, but with more major bleeding events. Similar findings were reported with rivaroxaban, although the study was not sufficiently powered to allow definitive conclusions. The majority of bleeding events occurred in the upper gastrointestinal tract and in patients with gastrointestinal cancer. Thus, LMWH remains the preferred option for patients with gastrointestinal cancer. Additional studies aimed to confirm these findings with other DOACs are now warranted.
PMID: 29963962 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]