Abnormalities of blood coagulation tests in patients with cancer

R. L. Edwards, F. R. Rickles, T. E. Moritz, W. G. Henderson, L. R. Zacharski, W. B. Forman, C. J. Cornell, R. J. Forcier, J. F. O'Donnell, E. Headley, S. H. Kim, R. O'Dell, K. Tornyos, H. C. Kwaan

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144 Scopus citations


Routine blood coagulation tests were performed on 431 consecutive patients enrolled in a study of the role of anticoagulation in cancer treatment (VA Cooperative Study#75). Two hundred sixteen control patients were treated with standard therapy, and 215 patients were treated with standard therapy plus sodium warfarin. At the time of entry into the study, the most common abnormalities were elevated fibrinogen levels, platelet counts, and fibrinopeptide A levels. Serial studies demonstrated a steady increase in platelet count and fibrinogen levels before death. Anticoagulation lowered FPA levels but had no significant effect on fibrinogen levels, platelet counts, or euglobulin clot lysis times. An unexpected finding was a dramatic increase in fibrin split product levels after institution of anticoagulation (x̄ ± SEM = 42.6 ± 116.4 vs. 2.9 ± 7.0 mg/L in control subjects; P < 0.02). This study supports the presence of subclinical activation of blood coagulation in most patients with cancer. Moreover, the preferential activation of fibrinolysis in anticoagulated patients suggests a role for a vitamin K-dependent factor(s) in the regulation of fibrinolysis in patients with cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-602
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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