Genetic Test May Spot Those Chemotherapy Patients at Risk of Serious Blood Clots

Genetic Test May Spot Those Chemotherapy Patients at Risk of Serious Blood Clots
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. The study, "Chemotherapy, Genetic Susceptibility, and Risk of Venous Thromboembolism in Breast Cancer Patients," published in Clinical Cancer Research, may help to identify patients most likely to benefit from prophylaxis treatment to prevent venous thromboembolism (VTE). "The risk for venous thromboembolism [blood clots that form in a vein] is increased in cancer patients, particularly in those receiving chemotherapy," Judith S. Brand, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, said in a press release. "As one of the most common cancers, breast cancer accounts for a large number of cancer-associated VTE cases." 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. Pat
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