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Approved Research

Genetic prediction of thrombosis in patients with newly diagnosed cancer

Principal Investigator: Ms Karen Pieper
Approved Research ID: 84064
Approval date: May 20th 2022

Lay summary

There is a strong association between cancer and clotting of the blood called thrombosis.   In cancer patients, we are most concerned about the type of clotting called venous thromboembolism or VTE.  VTE comes in two forms.  One is deep vein thrombosis or DVT, when blood is slowed to parts of your body.  The other is pulmonary embolism or PE, when one has a clot or blockage in an artery in the lungs. 

Those with active cancer have a 10-fold increased risk of  VTE.

The survival of cancer patients is worse in those with one of these clots than in those without.   VTE is the second leading cause of early death in patients with newly diagnosed cancer treated with chemotherapy.  Researchers think there is a  relationship between the  cancer cells and the blood clotting system that worsens the effects on both but the actual relationship is still not known.

Several genetic factors are known that make one more likely to experience a VTE in the non-cancer population.  But the same information is limited for cancer patients. 

We hope to show that a) the currently identified genetic markers of VTE hold up in this large population;  b) there are new markers as well that can be used ;  c) that we can see if these markers work across all cancers or only in specific ones; d) that these markers may also be helpful in identifying other bad outcomes for cancer patients. 

Once the data are made available, we expect to take six months to create analysis datasets and a final set of patients with clean and usable data to use.  We expect to take an additional six months to perform the necessary analyses.  An additional 4 months will be needed to generate a manuscript that will be ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

With better genetic markers identified, we can better predict who is at risk of developing one of these clots when a patient is newly-diagnosed with cancer.  If we know this, we can give preventive medications to those most at risk and avoid giving in those at lower risk. This would be of benefit to individual patients with cancer and potentially reduce the substantial overall burden of VTE in the overall population.