Anticoagulants boost cancer survival rates

Researchers pooled data from nine randomised controlled trials of anticoagulants involving 2185 patients with lung cancer.

They found no survival benefit at six months but the patients taking anticoagulants were 18% more likely to be alive after one year and 27% more likely to be alive after two years. 

“Our findings suggest that anticoagulation might not produce an immediate survival benefit and it may be beneficial only in patients with prolonged life expectancy,” the Chinese authors wrote. 

The survival benefit was most pronounced in patients with small cell lung cancer and those with non-advanced malignancy.

Anticoagulants reduced the risk of VTE by 45% and the risk of thromboembolic events by 52%, but at the expense of an increased the risk of haemorrhage. 

Unlike warfarin, subcutaneous heparin did not increase the incidence of major bleeding, leading the researchers to suggest the latter would be