Study authors and other experts caution that blood thinners should not be routinely prescribed to cancer patients as they contribute to additional risks, including bleeding. However, for men who need an anticoagulant they might also find it beneficial in terms of prostate cancer.
The study included 250 men with advanced or spreading prostate cancer who were receiving chemotherapy. Nearly 12% of these men were taking blood thinners to prevent pulmonary embolisms. The groups taking the blood thinners survived an average of 21 months as compared to 17 months for men not taking blood thinning drug.
At this time researchers do not know if the blood thinners actually make a difference or whether or not men who are predisposed to blood clots respond differently to chemotherapy.
The study authors (from the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore ) believe more work is needed to confirm the results, as well as determination of the ideal anticoagulant, dose, timing and related risks.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute estimates that this year almost 239,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and nearly 30,000 men will die from the disease.