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Cancer and Thrombosis—New Insights

Yona Nadir and Benjamin Brenner

Abstract

Cancer patients have a pro-thrombotic state attributed to the ability of cancer cells to activate the coagula¬tion system and interact with hemostatic cells, thus tilting the balance between pro- and anticoagulants. Mechanisms underlying the coagulation system activation involve tumor cells, endothelial cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Anti-cancer therapies, including anti-angiogenic drugs, significantly increase the risk of thrombosis during treatment. Along with the role of coagulation proteins in the hemostatic system, these proteins also serve as growth factors to the tumor. Heparanase is a pro-angiogenic and pro-metastatic protein. Our previous studies have demonstrated that it enhances tissue factor (TF) activity and is present at high levels in tumor cells and patients’ blood. Strategies to attenuate heparanase effects by heparin mimetics or peptides interrupting the TF–heparanase interaction are good candidates to attenuate tumor growth and thrombotic manifestations.