Role of anticoagulation in the management of tumor thrombus: A 10-year single-center experience

Shreya Agarwal, Dolores Mullikin, Michael E. Scheurer, Valeria Smith, Bindi Naik-Mathuria, R. Paul Guillerman, Jennifer H. Foster, Rosa Diaz, Sarah E. Sartain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Children with cancer diagnosis are overall at a higher risk of thrombosis. For a newly diagnosed blood clot, patients are commonly started on anticoagulants to prevent further extension and embolization of the clot. In the rare instance that a pediatric patient has a tumor thrombus, role of anticoagulation is less clear. Procedure/methods: Patients under 21 years of age with a finding of tumor thrombus on imaging from 2010 to 2020 at Texas Children's Hospital were identified and their medical records were reviewed. Results: A total of 50 patients were identified. Most thrombi were incidental findings at diagnosis; however, two patients presented with pulmonary embolism (PE). Inferior vena cava extension was noted in 36% of the patients, and 24% patients had an intracardiac tumor thrombus. Anticoagulation was initiated in 10 patients (20%). There was no difference in the rate of bland thrombus formation and/or embolization in patients who did or did not receive anticoagulation. However, three of the six patients with asymptomatic tumor thrombus who were started on anticoagulation had bleeding complications compared to only two patients in the no anticoagulation cohort (p <.05). Conclusion: Children with intravascular extension of solid tumors were not commonly started on anticoagulation at the time of diagnosis, irrespective of the extent of tumor thrombus. Furthermore, we observed a significant trend toward higher incidence of bleeding complications after initiation of anticoagulation for asymptomatic tumor thrombus. There is inadequate evidence at this time to support routine initiation of anticoagulation in pediatric patients with intravascular extension of solid tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere29173
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Wilms tumor
  • anticoagulation
  • bleeding
  • enoxaparin
  • malignancy
  • osteosarcoma
  • pulmonary embolism
  • tumor thrombus
  • vascular metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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