Intracranial hemorrhage with direct oral anticoagulants in patients with brain metastases

Avi Leader*, Eva N. Hamulyak, Brian J. Carney, Maya Avrahami, Jelijn J. Knip, Shira Rozenblatt, Ludo F. M. Beenen, Shlomit Yust-Katz, Oded Icht, Michiel Coppens, Pia Raanani, Saskia Middeldorp, Harry R. Buller, Jeffrey Zwicker, Galia Spectre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are increasingly prescribed in treatment of cancer-associated thrombosis, but limited data exist regarding safety of DOACs in patients with brain metastases. We aimed to determine the incidence of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in patients with brain metastases receiving DOACs or low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) for venous thromboembolism or atrial fibrillation. An international 2-center retrospective cohort study was designed. Follow-up started on the first day of concomitant anticoagulation and brain tumor diagnosis. At least 2 brain imaging studies were mandated. The primary outcome was the cumulative incidence of any spontaneous ICH at 12-month follow-up with death as a competing risk. Major ICH was defined as spontaneous, >= 10 mL in volume, symptomatic, or requiring surgical intervention. Imaging studies were centrally reviewed by a neuroradiologist blinded for anticoagulant type. PANWARDS (platelets, albumin, no congestive heart failure, warfarin, age, race, diastolic blood pressure, stroke) score for prediction of ICH was calculated. We included 96 patients with brain metastases (41 DOAC, 55 LMWH). The 12-month cumulative incidence of major ICH was 5.1% in DOAC-treated patients and 11.1% in those treated with LMWH (hazard ratio [HR], 0.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.09-2.21). When anticoagulation was analyzed as a time-varying covariate, the risk of any ICH did not differ between DOAC- and LMWH-treated patients (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.28-3.40). PANWARDS score was not associated with ICH risk. This international 2-center study suggests comparable safety of LMWH and DOACs in patients with brain metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6291-6297
Number of pages7
JournalBlood advances
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2020


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