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Most clinical practice guidelines recommend low molecular weight heparin for the treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in cancer patients. In the Hokusai VTE Cancer study, 1050 patients with cancer and acute VTE were randomized to oral edoxaban or subcutaneous dalteparin for at least 6 months and up to 12 months. Edoxaban was non-inferior to dalteparin with respect to the composite outcome of recurrent VTE and major bleeding. The rate of recurrent VTE was numerically lower, but the rate of major bleeding was significantly higher with edoxaban. The frequency of severe major bleeding was similar with edoxaban and dalteparin. The difference in major bleeding was mainly driven by a higher rate of upper gastrointestinal bleeding with edoxaban, especially in patients with gastrointestinal cancer. The pilot Select-D study randomized 406 patients with cancer and VTE to rivaroxaban or dalteparin for 6 months. Recurrent VTE was reduced, while both major and clinically relevant non major bleeding were significantly increased with rivaroxaban. Bleeding mostly involved the gastrointestinal tract and occurred in patients with gastroesophageal cancer. While waiting for ongoing studies on direct oral anticoagulants, the results of the Hokusai VTE Cancer suggest that edoxaban may represent a valuable alternative to low molecular weight heparin for the treatment of cancer-associated VTE. In patients with gastrointestinal cancer, the use of edoxaban requires careful benefit-risk weighting, taking into consideration patient's preferences.
PMID: 30284557 [PubMed - in process]