Effect of a retrievable inferior vena cava filter plus anticoagulation vs anticoagulation alone on risk of recurrent pulmonary embolism: a randomized clinical trial.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common complication in cancer patients and anticoagulation (AC) remains the standard of care for treatment. Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters may also used to reduce the risk of pulmonary embolism, either alone or in addition to AC. Although widely used, data are limited on the safety and efficacy of IVC filters in cancer patients. We performed a retrospective review of outcomes after IVC filter insertion in a database of 1270 consecutive patients with cancer-associated pulmonary embolism (PE) at our institution between 2008 and 2009. Outcomes measured included rate of all recurrent VTE, recurrent PE, and overall survival within 12 months. 317 (25%) of the 1270 patients with PE had IVC filters placed within 30 days of the index PE event or prior to the index PE in the setting of prior DVT. Patients with IVC filters had markedly lower overall survival (7.3 months) than the non-IVC filter patients (13.2 months). Filter patients also had a lower rate of AC use at time of initial PE. There was a trend towards higher recurrent VTE in patients with IVC filters (11.9%) compared to non-filter patients (7.7%), but this was not significant (p = 0.086). The risk of recurrent PE was similar between the IVC filter cohort (3.5%) and non-filter group (3.5%, p = 0.99). Cancer patients receiving IVC filters had a similar risk of recurrent PE, but a trend towards more overall recurrent VTE. The filter patients had poorer overall survival, which may reflect a poorer cancer prognosis, and had greater contraindication to AC; therefore these patients likely had a higher inherent risk for recurrent VTE. A prospective study would be helpful for further clarification on the partial reduction in the recurrent PE risk by IVC filter placement in cancer patients.