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Cancer is associated with hypercoagulopathy and increased risk of thrombosis. This negatively influences patient morbidity and mortality. Cancer is also frequently complicated by the development of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Tumor-derived tissue factor (TF)-bearing microparticles (MPs) are associated with VTE events in malignancy. MPs are small membrane vesicles released from many different cell types by exocytic budding of the plasma membrane in response to cellular activation or apoptosis. MPs may also be involved in clinical diseases through expression of procoagulative phospholipids. The detection of TF-expressing MPs in cancer patients may be clinically useful. In lung and breast cancer patients, MPs induce metastasis and angiogenesis and may be indicators of vascular complications. Additionally, MPs in patients with various types of cancer possess adhesion proteins and bind target cells to promoting cancer progression or metastasis. Overexpression of TF by cancer cells is closely associated with tumor progression, and shedding of TF-expressing MPs by cancer cells correlates with the genetic status of cancer. Consequently, TF-expressing MPs represent important markers to consider in the prevention of and therapy for VTE complications in cancer patients.
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