A systematic literature search strategy was conducted using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials. Two reviewers independently extracted data onto standardized forms. The primary end points were all venous thromboembolic events. Secondary end points included major bleeding episodes and symptomatic venous thromboembolic events. Pooled analysis with relative risk using a random effect model was used as the primary measurement.
A total of 242 citations were identified by the literature search. Of these, 3 placebo-controlled randomized trials included venous thromboembolic events as a primary outcome and were analyzed according to cancer subgroups. The pooled relative risk of venous thromboembolic events was 0.91 (95% confidence interval, 0.21-4.0; I2: 68%) among hospitalized patients with cancer who were receiving thromboprophylaxis compared with placebo. None of the trials reported the rates of symptomatic venous thromboembolic events or major bleeding episodes according to cancer status.
The risks and benefits of primary thromboprophylaxis with anticoagulant therapy in hospitalized patients with cancer are not known. This is especially relevant because numerous Medicare-type pay-for-performance incentives mandate prophylaxis specifically in patients with cancer.