To investigate the efficacy and safety of anticoagulant prophylaxis to prevent postoperative venous thromboembolism (VTE) during laparoscopic colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery, which is unknown in Japanese patients.
We conducted this randomized controlled trial at nine institutions in Japan from 2011 to 2015. It included 302 eligible patients aged 20 years or older who underwent elective laparoscopic surgery for CRC. Patients were randomly assigned to an intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) therapy group or to an IPC + anticoagulation therapy group. Anticoagulation therapy comprised fondaparinux or enoxaparin for postoperative VTE prophylaxis. Postoperative VTE was diagnosed based on enhanced multi-detector helical computed tomography. The primary endpoint was VTE incidence, including asymptomatic cases, the secondary endpoint was incidence of major bleeding, and we conducted an intention-to-treat analysis. This study is registered in UMINCTR (UMIN000008435).
Postoperative VTE incidence was 5.10% with IPC therapy (n = 157) and 2.76% with IPC + anticoagulant therapy (n = 145; P = .293). We identified no symptomatic VTE cases. The major bleeding rates were 1.27% with IPC alone and 1.38% with the combination (P = .936). The overall bleeding rates were 7.69% for enoxaparin and 13.6% for fondaparinux (P = .500), and there were no bleeding-related deaths.
Anticoagulant prophylaxis did not reduce the incidence of VTE and the incidence of major bleeding was comparable between the two groups. Usefulness of perioperative anticoagulation was not demonstrated in this study. Pharmacological prophylaxis must be restricted in Japanese patients with higher risk of VTE.