Effect of low molecular weight heparin (Certoparin) versus unfractionated heparin on cancer survival following breast and pelvic cancer surgery: A prospective randomized double-blind trial.
- G F von Tempelhoff
- J Harenberg
- F Niemann
- G Hommel
- C J Kirkpatrick
- L Heilmann
Affiliations: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, City Hospital of Ruesselsheim, D-65428 Ruesselsheim, Germany.
- Published online on: April 1, 2000 https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.16.4.815
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Recent studies suggest that low molecular weight heparin (LMW heparin) therapy in malignancy may improve cancer survival following surgical resection. We studied prospectively whether cancer mortality during follow-up in women with previously untreated breast, and pelvic cancer is reduced in those who randomly received LMW heparin (Certoparin) compared to patients given unfractionated heparin (UF heparin) for thrombosis prophylaxis during primary surgery. In a prospective, randomized, double-blind clinical trial, 160 patients received Certoparin and 164 UF heparin until post-operatively day 7. Survival estimations are based on the outcome data from a subset of 140 LMW heparin - and 147 UF heparin recipients. Long-term survival in the Certoparin group compared to the UF heparin group was significantly improved after 650 days (P=0. 0066) but not thereafter when analysis was performed on all cancer cell types combined. In the probability estimates survival benefit within this time was restricted to patients with pelvic cancer but was not observed in breast cancer. However, in breast cancer patients who received LMW heparin the impact of classical tumor prognostic markers was statistically significant after 1,050 days but not after 650 days. Thus, breast cancer patients with unfavorable prognosis seem to benefit in terms of survival advantage from LMW heparin within the 650 days after surgery. These results suggest that improvement in cancer survival can be achieved after even a short course of treatment with LMWH (compared to UFH) given for DVT prophylaxis in the post-operative period. An effect of UFH on disease outcome is not excluded. Further definitive trials of LMWH vs. placebo for cancer outcome (rather then DVT) using doses and schedules that may be more optimal are indicated.