Thrombosis and hemostatic abnormalities in hematological malignancies

Riccardo Colombo, Paolo Gallipoli, Roberto Castelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a paucity of data that pertain to thrombosis in patients with hematological malignancies. Recent studies showed that patients with lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and acute leukemia have an increased thrombotic risk, particularly at the time of diagnosis and during chemotherapy. We searched the PubMed database for articles on thromboembolic complications in patients with hematological malignancies published between 1996 and 2013. The incidence of thrombotic events is variable, and is influenced by the type and the stage of hematological malignancy, the antitumor therapy, and the use of central venous devices. The pathogenesis of thromboembolic disease in hematological malignancies is multifactorial. Tumor cell-derived procoagulant, fibrinolytic, or proteolytic factors, and inflammatory cytokines affect clotting activation, and chemotherapy and immunomodulatory drugs increase the thrombotic risk in patients with lymphoma, acute leukemia, and multiple myeloma. Infections might also contribute to the pathogenesis of the thromboembolic complications: Endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria induce the release of tissue factor, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1b, and gram-positive organisms can release bacterial mucopolysaccharides that directly activate factor XII. In the setting of plasma cell dyscrasias, hyperviscosity, decreased fibrinolysis, procoagulant autoantibody production, inflammatory cytokines, acquired activated protein C resistance, and the prothrombotic effects of antimyeloma agents might be the cause of thromboembolic complications. Anticoagulant therapy is very complicated because of high risk of hemorrhage. Therefore, an accurate estimate of a patient's thrombotic risk is essential to allow physicians to target thromboprophylaxis in high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-450
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Blood coagulation
  • Blood malignancies
  • Haematology
  • Proinflammatory cytokines
  • Thromboembolic disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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