Thrombocytopenia in cancer patients.

Research paper by Howard A HA Liebman

Indexed on: 28 May '14Published on: 28 May '14Published in: Thrombosis Research


Thrombocytopenia is a frequent complication of cancer and its treatment. The causes of thrombocytopenia in cancer patients can be diverse and multifactorial. Systemic chemotherapy is the most frequent cause of thrombocytopenia. The degree and duration thrombocytopenia depends upon whether the chemotherapeutic treatment is myeloablative, as used in stem cell transplants, or non-myeloablative, as typically used in solid non-hematologic malignancies. Additional causes of significant thrombocytopenia include tumor involvement of bone marrow and spleen; microangiopathic disorders such as disseminated intravascular coagulation, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura or hemolytic uremia syndrome. Lymphoproliferative malignancies can also be associated with secondary immune thrombocytopenia. Due to the broad differential diagnosis associated with cancer related thrombocytopenia, a careful diagnostic evaluation is indicated. The goal of treatment should be to maintain a safe platelet count to allow effective treatment of the underlying malignancy, prevent bleeding complications and to minimize the use of platelet product transfusion.