Chemotherapy is known to carry a risk of venous thromboembolism in cancer patients, a particularly common risk in frequent cancers like breast cancer. But a genetic test may predict which of these patients are most likely to develop such serious blood clots, researchers report.
VTE is preventable through prophylaxis treatment with heparin, an anticoagulant. But because a side effect is less controllable bleeding, the drug is not routinely recommended to patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Researchers examined 4,261 Swedish women diagnosed with primary invasive breast cancer between 2001 and 2008. Risk stratification was based on chemotherapy use and genetic susceptibility, which was determined by a risk score assessing nine genes involved in VTE. Patients ranked in the highest 5 percent were classified as having a high genetic susceptibility.
Patients were followed for a median of 7.6 years, and 276 experienced a VTE during that time.
Blood Clot Risk in Breast Cancer Patients Seen via Gene Test