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Atrial fibrillation in patients with active malignancy and use of anticoagulants: Under-prescription but no adverse impact on all-cause mortality

Published:October 29, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2018.10.012

      Highlights

      • Prescription of anticoagulants in cancer patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) is challenging.
      • The impact on survival of AF and associated treatments in advanced cancer is not defined.
      • In a real-world analysis performed in an Oncology Unit we found that prescription of anticoagulants was suboptimal.
      • Anticoagulants were not significantly associated with mortality even in patients with metastatic malignancies.
      • Only variables related to neoplastic disease or to patient clinical complexity were independently associated with mortality.

      Abstract

      Prescription of anticoagulants (ACs) in patients with cancer and atrial fibrillation (AF) is challenging and the impact on survival is not defined.
      In this study data prospectively collected in Oncology Units were retrospectively evaluated. Among 4664 patients admitted for malignancy, 394 patients (8.4%) had documented AF (mean age of 74 ± 9) and AC was prescribed to 155 patients (40%). Neither the type of cancer, the stage of the disease (metastatic or not) nor the ongoing treatments were significantly associated with prescription of AC, which was independently associated with BMI (OR 1.10; CI 95% 1.03–1.17; p = .003), valvular heart disease (OR 3.76; CI95% 1.59–8.87; p = .002), and previous venous thromboembolism (OR 6.67; 95%CI 2.67–16.70; p < .001). During a median follow-up of 212 days, survival from all-cause death was 37%, 28% and 18% at 6 months, 1 and 2 years, respectively. Only variables related to neoplastic disease or to patient clinical complexity were independently associated with mortality. A CHA2DS2VASc ≥ 4 was significantly associated with mortality (HR 1.33; 95%CI 1.06–1.67; p = .013). Treatment with ACs was not significantly related to mortality, neither in the whole cohort of patients, nor in patients with metastatic malignancies.
      In conclusion the prescription of ACs in patients with AF and active cancer was suboptimal, with one fourth of the patients not treated with ACs and one third using LMWH at prophylactic, non-therapeutic doses. Only few variables (BMI, valvular heart disease and previous venous thromboembolism) predicted prescription of ACs. Prescription of ACs was not associated with all-cause mortality, even in the subgroup with metastasis.

      Keywords

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