The relationship between hemostasis and malignancy is well recognized, with both elements interacting in a "vicious cycle" where cancers overexpress procoagulants and thrombin, which in turn promote both prothrombotic potential and tumor growth, invasion, and spread. Indeed, venous thromboembolism, particularly idiopathic venous thrombosis, occurs frequently as a paraneoplastic phenomenon, and in turn several components of primary and secondary hemostasis (namely platelets, tissue factor, and thrombin) play an important role in primary tumor growth and metastasization. Despite the many and various mechanisms involved in this multifaceted relationship, anticoagulants might represent an attractive anticancer therapy, in that current research supports the hypothesis that such drugs may offer a better control of cancer progression. The main biological and clinical evidence on the relationship between cancer and hemostasis are briefly summarized in this review, as is the potential benefits of anticoagulant therapy in this setting.
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