Cancer is an acquired thrombophilic condition manifested by increased incidence of venous and arterial thromboembolic complications. Despite progress that has been achieved in treatments over the recent years, thromboembolism remains a major complication in patients with breast cancer; it is accompanied by significant morbidity and mortality. Approximately, 1% of breast cancer patients develop venous thromboembolism within 2 years with the highest incidence occurring in the 6 months post diagnosis. Metastatic disease and their comorbidities are the strongest predictors of the development of thrombotic event. The diagnosis of venous thromboembolism is associated with a higher risk of death within 2 years of diagnosis. Thromboembolic events in cancer patients range from abnormal laboratory coagulation tests without specific symptoms to massive thomboembolism and disseminated intravascular coagulation. The underlying pathophysiology is complex and includes the prothrombotic properties of cancer cells, which can be enhanced by anticancer treatment modalities, such as surgery, hormonal agents, and chemotherapy. Primary thromboprophylaxis in cancer patients should be individualized according to risk. For secondary prevention, several clinical studies have shown that low molecular weight heparin has improved patients' compliance, cancer outcomes and overall survival. This review summarizes the available data on the pathogenesis and clinical approach of hemostatic changes in breast cancer.
Keywords: Blood coagulation, Breast neoplasms, Hemostasis, Thrombosis