Cancer-Associated Thrombosis Roundtable Brings Together MEPs and Stakeholders

On 16 October, the European Thrombosis and Haemostasis Alliance (ETHA) held the Roundtable Discussion on Cancer-Associated Thrombosis (CAT) and the EU Cancer Agenda Event hosted by MEP Juozas Olekas in recognition of World Thrombosis Day, a global day to highlight the burden of thrombosis on people around the world. With 1 in 4 people dying of conditions related to thrombosis globally, this is an urgent conversation that must be had at every level of society.

As one of the greatest risk factors for thrombosis, cancer has recently been elevated by the European Union as a separate research mission in Horizon Europe. Blood clots affect up to 1 in 5 cancer patients, but with the focus rightfully on treating cancer, the discussion of blood clots rarely is discussed in oncologist appointments. That means that many cancer patients are unaware they are at high risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or a pulmonary embolism (PE) and they are not looking for the signs – or they think signs are a side effect of cancer treatment – which they are not.

The risk of death for cancer patients with blood clots is more than 3- to 4- fold greater than for non-cancer patients with blood clots, yet the severity of CAT is often underestimated, and prevention strategies are overlooked. In a study of 235,149 cancer cases, 3,775 (1.6%) were diagnosed with venous thromboembolism (VTE) within 2 years, 463 (12%) at the time cancer was diagnosed and 3,312 (88%) subsequently. Death from cancer is consistently greater among patients who have developed VTE as compared to cancer patients who have not. It is thus important that any research activity on improving death and disability from cancer also improves the understanding of blood clot formation in cancer patients.

To strengthen the discussion at the EU level on CAT, the roundtable brought together cancer organizations, experts on cancer and thrombosis, carer representatives and members of the European Thrombosis and Haemostasis Alliance (ETHA) to build awareness and to share considerations with MEPs. These considerations include the following:

Top Considerations:

  1. We ask MEPs and EU Member States to address horizontal risk factors that greatly affect mortality from all cancers, such as CAT, in the EU Research Mission on Cancer and the anticipated Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.
  2. The target areas for both the EU Research Mission on Cancer and the anticipated Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan should specifically include CAT, as part of a combined effort to improve overall cancer survival rates.
  3. To meet the objective of reducing cancer mortality, horizontal collaboration between related scientific disciplines is essential. The ETHA welcomes a stronger linkage with MEPs and other scientific disciplines to best enable researchers to address the impact of thrombosis in cancer.

Join us in sharing these important messages. Together, we can save lives and build networks of collaboration and communication to improve the lives of people throughout the European Union.