Coagulation disorders are frequently detected in patients affected by different tumours even though clinical symptoms occur in a very small percentage of such subjects. Coagulation processes are probably involved in the mechanism of metastatic spread. We assayed the plasma levels of thrombin-antithrombin III (TAT) complexes in a group of 276 patients with several tumours in different stages in order to achieve a better understanding of the complex interactions between coagulation disorders and either tumour growth or metastatic spread. High levels of TAT complexes were found in 51 % of localized, 66.3% of metastatic and 58.3% of patients with no evidence of disease; a statistically significant difference was observed comparing metastatic cancer either with localized (p < 0.00015) or with free-of-disease (p < 0.004) groups. Gastrointestinal tract neoplasms showed higher levels of TAT complexes in the metastatic than in the localized group. No difference was seen between small-cell and non-small-cell lung-localized cancer. Our results confirm the frequent coexistence of cancer and subclinical blood coagulation disorders. The evidence of higher levels of TAT complexes in metastatic cancer than in the other groups could be related to the mechanisms involved in tumour spread.
- Antithrombin III
- Thrombin-antithrombin III complexes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research