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Efficacy and safety of thromboprophylaxis in cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND: Thrombosis is a common complication in patients with cancer. Whether thromboprophylaxis could benefit patients with cancer is unclear. The aim of this systematic review was to determine the efficacy and safety of thromboprophylaxis in patients with cancer undergoing surgery or chemotherapy.

METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, EBSCOhost, and Web of Science for studies published before May 2018 to investigate whether thromboprophylaxis measures were more effective than a placebo in patients with cancer.

RESULTS: In total, 33 trials with 11,942 patients with cancer were identified. In patients with cancer undergoing surgery, the administration of thromboprophylaxis was associated with decreasing trends in venous thromboembolism (VTE) [relative risk (RR) 0.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.32-0.81] and DVT (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.33-0.87). In patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, the administration of thromboprophylaxis reduced the incidences of VTE, DVT, and pulmonary embolism compared with no thromboprophylaxis (RR 0.54, 95% CI 0.40-0.73; RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.31-0.73; RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.32-0.81, respectively). The pooled results regarding major bleeding showed no significant difference between prophylaxis and no prophylaxis in either the surgical or the chemotherapy groups (RR 2.35, 95% CI 0.74-7.52, p  = 0.1482, I2  = 0%; RR 1.30, 95% CI 0.93-1.83, p  = 0.1274, I2  = 0%, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Thromboprophylaxis did not increase major bleeding events or the incidence of thrombocytopenia. All-cause mortality was not significantly different between those who received thromboprophylaxis and those who did not. This meta-analysis provides evidence that thromboprophylaxis can reduce the number of VTE and DVT events, with no apparent increase in the incidence of major bleeding in patients with cancer.

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