The invasive and costly procedure of inserting an inferior vena cava filter (IVCF) does not benefit cancer patients who are being treated with the anticoagulation medication fondaparinux (Arixtra®) for blood clots. These results were recently presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer.
Blood clots are the second most common cause of death among cancer patients. Blood clots can become particularly dangerous if they travel to the lungs and/or heart. Therefore, cancer patients are often on medication to prevent their occurrence, or provide resolution of the clots as quickly as possible.
Patients with blood clots often undergo the IVCF procedure in which a thin mesh filter is placed in the inferior vena cava, a large blood vessel that carries blood from the lower part of the body back to the heart. The inferior vena cava is located in the abdomen and the filter is placed in the vessel to stop any clots from reaching the heart.
Researchers from the North-Shore LIJ Health System in New York recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of IVCF among cancer patients with blood clots. This study included 64 patients; approximately half received fondaparinux only and the other half received fondaparinux plus IVCF.
- Median survival was 493 days for patients treated with fondaparinux only and 266 days for those treated with fondaparinux plus IVCF.
- Complete resolution of blood clots occurred in 52% of patients treated with fondaparinux only and 45% of patients treated with fondaparinux plus IVCF.
These results suggest that the addition of IVCF to fondaparinux does not provide benefit to cancer patients with blood clots. Dr. Myra Barginear, the principle investigator of the study, stated that “This is a potentially practice-changing clinical trial”.
Reference: Barginear M, et al. Testing the role of adding an inferior vena cava filter (IVCF) to anticoagulation with fondaparinux in patients with cancer and venous thromboemboli (VTE): results of the CAT (Cancer and Thrombosis) prospective randomized clinical trial (RCT). Presented at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer. Amsterdam, Netherlands. July 3-7, 2011. Abstract O41.07.