Cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT) is a rising and significant phenomenon, becoming the second leading cause of death in cancer patients. Pathophysiology of CAT differs from thrombosis in the non-cancer population. There are additional risk factors for thrombosis specific to cancer including cancer type, histology, and treatment, such as chemotherapy. Recently developed scoring systems use these risk factors to stratify the degree of risk and encourage thromboprophylaxis in intermediate- to high-risk patients. Anticoagulation is safely used for prophylaxis and treatment of CAT. Both of these have largely been with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH), rather than the vitamin K antagonist (VKA); however, there has been increasing evidence for direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) use. Consequently, international guidelines have also adapted to recommend the role of DOACs in CAT. Using DOACs is a turning point for CAT, but further research is warranted for their long-term risk profile. This review will discuss mechanisms, risk factors, prophylaxis and management of CAT, including both LMWH and DOACs. There will also be a comparison of current international guidelines and how they reflect the growing evidence base.
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