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17-03-2011 | Article

Thrombosis risk increased in skin cancer patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: Patients with advanced skin cancer are at an increased risk for developing blood clots, researchers report.

They explain that cancer patients are often confined to bed or not fully mobile, which puts them at risk for this condition.

The investigators rule out chemotherapy as the sole reason for the increased incidence of blood clots, known clinically as thrombosis, however, because most of the patients developed thrombosis between treatments and not during them.

They also recommend that patients continue with heparin as a preventative as this lessened the chances of thrombosis occurring.

For the study, 95 patients with advanced melanoma, which had already spread to other parts of the body, were assessed for thrombosis.

The condition was confirmed in 24 patients, at a prevalence of 25.2%. Almost all of the patients developed thrombosis after or at the time their skin cancer was diagnosed as being stage IV, and a quarter showed no symptoms of the condition.

Lead researcher A Sparsa, from University Hospital in Dupuytren, France, and colleagues note that having thrombosis did not appear to significantly affect the survival rate of patients in their study, but concede that a bigger study would be needed to rule out a possible association.

Taking preventive anticoagulant therapy significantly lowered the risk for thrombosis, and the researchers point out that it is "underused in medical patients, particularly cancer patients."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Lucy Piper