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Varicose veins increase risk of vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism in cancer patients

(Vienna, 15th October 2013) Cancer patients with varicose veins bear a significantly increased risk of suffering from a vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism during the course of their disease. This is the most recent finding from the "Vienna Cancer and Thrombosis Study" (CATS), which has already been running for ten years at the Clinical Department of Haematology and Haemostaseology at the MedUni Vienna (University Department of Internal Medicine I). The core focus of the CATS study is the search for the factors contributing to the ability to predict the occurrence of venous thromboembolisms in cancer patients.

It is well-known that venous thromboembolisms (vascular occlusions), such as deep vein thromboses and pulmonary embolisms, occur particularly often in cancer patients and are one of the most common causes of increased mortality. An appropriate thrombosis prevention regime can minimise this risk but often comes with the risk of bleeds. The identification of risk factors for a venous thromboembolism is therefore necessary in order to identify patients who would benefit from a targeted thrombosis prevention medication regime. Patients with a low risk profile do not receive prophylactic treatment and are therefore not exposed to the risk of bleeds unnecessarily.

Double the increased risk for venous thromboembolism
In the current CATS study evaluation, 1,270 patients have been monitored for two years. Led by Cihan Ay, Oliver Königsbrügge and Felix Lötsch from the University Department of Internal Medicine I at the MedUni Vienna discovered that patients, who were suffering from varicose veins at the time of their cancer diagnosis or inclusion in the study, have double the increased risk for the occurrence of a venous thromboembolism during the further course of their disease.

Never before has the influence of varicose veins on the risk of thrombosis been investigated on such a large group of cancer patients. The results of this study have now been published in the renowned "Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis."

10 years CATS: Symposium on 17 October
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the establishing of the "Vienna Cancer and Thrombosis Study", which has already produced a series of important findings to improve the assessment of clinical risk and contribute to a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of tumour-associated thrombosis, a symposium on the topic of "Tumour and Thrombosis" will be held with experts and prominent guest lecturers from the USA, Germany and the MedUni Vienna on Thursday, 17 October 2013.

Date & time: Thursday, 17 October 2013, 2.00 – 7.00 pm; Jugendstil lecture theatre of the MedUni Vienna, Spitalgasse 23, 1090 Vienna, BT 88, Rektoratsgebäude (rector's building) (entry is free, registration by e-mail to tanja.altreiter@meduniwien.ac.at). Link to the programme: http://www.termine-meduniwien.at/mediafiles/39/Cats_Symposium_Einladung_web2.pdf

Service: Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis & Blood
“Presence of varicose veins in cancer patients increases the risk for occurrence of venous thromboembolism.” Königsbrügge O, Lötsch F, Reitter EM, Brodowicz T, Zielinski C, Pabinger I, Ay C. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. doi: 10.1111/jth.12408.
“Biomarkers for prediction of venous thromboembolism in cancer.” Pabinger I, Thaler J, Ay C. Blood. 2013 Sep 19;122(12):2011-8. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-04-460147.