Pancreatic cancer and thromboembolic disease, 150 years after trousseau

Author(s): Ansari D, Ansari D, Andersson R, Andrén-Sandberg A


 The connection between pancreatic cancer and venous thrombosis has been discussed for almost 150 years. The exact pathophysiological mechanisms are still partly understood, but it is known that pancreatic cancer induces a prothrombotic and hypercoagulable state and genetic events involved in neoplastic transformation (e.g., KRAS, c-MET, p53), procoagulant factors [e.g., tissue factor (TF), platelet factor 4 (PF4), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1)], mucin production (e.g., through activation of P- and L-selectin) and pro-inflammatory factors [e.g., cytokines, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)] may be implicated. Also pancreatitis, both acute and chronic, is associated with increased risk of venous thrombosis, but in this circumstance a direct inflammatory process may be more important. This article discusses the incidence, treatment and outcome of venous thromboembolism (VTE) complicating pancreatic disease, with special emphasis on new knowledge obtained during the last fifteen years.

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