, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 847-852
Date: 17 Oct 2007

Prophylactic anti-coagulation in cancer palliative care: a prospective randomised study

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Abstract

Goals

The objective of this study was to determine utility of prophylactic anti-coagulation in cancer patients hospitalised for palliative care in a specialised centre.

Materials and methods

Prospective 1:1 open randomised study was designed. Twenty patients aged 55 to 88 years with advanced cancer and an estimated life expectancy of less than 6 months were assigned to either receive treatment with 2,850/3,800 U (<70/>70 kg) of daily subcutaneous nadroparin or no treatment. Suspicion of venous thrombo-embolism (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) was confirmed by echo-Doppler examination of the lower limbs and/or by spiral computed tomography scan of the lungs. Bleeding episodes were recorded. Platelet count was measured on days 7 and 14. Survival time from study entry was determined.

Main results

One venous thrombo-embolism and one major bleeding occurred in the group receiving nadroparin, whereas two minor bleedings occurred in the control group. At 3 months, nine of ten participants had died in the control group vs five of ten in the group receiving nadroparin (P = 0.141). Five participants could be discharged home (P = 0.141).

Conclusions

Decision to administer prophylactic nadroparin in hospitalised cancer patients under palliative care remains a challenge. Better mobility score at admission and the likelihood to be discharged home may be useful for practical purposes. The observation of a potential influence of prophylactic nadroparin on survival deserves further studies.