Warfarin Linked to Lower Cancer Risk - AF Association

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Warfarin Linked to Lower Cancer Risk


A large observational study from Norway has found a big reduction in cancer rates for those on warfarin:


For those with AF or Flutter there is a reduction of 40% in cancer risk.

The authors note that the "well-known challenges of warfarin dosing that necessitate regular monitoring have fuelled a transition to new oral anticoagulants. An unintended consequence of this switch to new oral anticoagulants may be an increased incidence of cancer, which is an important consideration for public health"

12 Replies

Thank you for that Mark. I'll stay with my old friend thank you.

How did this work Mark? Rather a scary post for us NOAC users so more info would be good- not able to access the link.

MarkS in reply to rosyG

This is a section, Rosy: "preclinical studies show that warfarin has antitumor activity at doses that do not inhibit coagulation. This suggests that the antitumor effects of warfarin are not related to anticoagulation but rather are due to the vitamin K antagonist mechanism of action. We and others have shown in experimental cancer models that warfarin inhibits the activity of a receptor (AXL) found on tumor and immune cells. Studies are ongoing to better understand this mechanism"

It doesn't mean that you're at increased risk on NOACs compared with people who don't take anti-coagulants. It's just that people on warfarin have a lot lower risk than everyone else. Perhaps they can develop a low dose warfarin pill that has the anti-cancer properties without the anti-coagulant effect.


That's good to know ! I shall carry on as normal then with warfarin and my meter.

Oh dear, not what I wanted to read the day after I moved from warfarin to Edoxaban.

I have said previously that a woman I worked with from 1970 to 1980 was taking Warfarin after heart surgery and she said that her consultant at St Helier hospital in Morden had told her that no patient of his on Warfarin had ever developed cancer. Due to that even after her heart surgery she continued to be a heavy smoker ! Also local legend was that where we worked in Garth Road in Morden was know as Cancer Alley as it was said there was a high incidence of female breast cancers that was put down to the electricity pylons in that area.

It is also said to some degree that aspirin prevents certain forms of cancer.


Well this is good news!! After just enduring a 15 hour AF episode I find that Warfarin is going to help me avoid cancer and also dementia (last one courtesy of the Daily Express) so there are some benefits of AF after all!!😯😨😛

Really good news for those of us who take Warfarin

Hmmm...was thinking of requesting Apixaban as suggested by Dr Gupta. Have no probs on warfarin apart from the fact I have always been good at falling and banging my head so thought Apixaban might be a better option. I read the full article and found it most enlightening. Incidentally I have recently had op for early breast cancer in spite of warfarin!!

Haha tell that to the rats!

But seriously, that's great news. The paramedics who tried for an hour the other day to get my heart rate down from 207bpm made me feel like some kind of dinosaur -"What are you doing still on that stuff?" I have actually been waiting for more definitive longterm studies on the alternative meds. I had been cautioned a long time ago that if your blood got too thin on the new meds it couldn't be brought down to a acceptable INR level - which could lead to serious brain bleeds, death, etc whereas with warfarin a shot of Vitamin K or a can of spinach could do the trick.

The paramedics then said, as I have heard, that there are now ways to bring the blood back to a suitable INR level on the new meds, but they admitted the danger remains that if one took a double dose by mistake there could be a serious problem.

So that decision has now been nicely made. I hope this new information will somehow help the world find a cure or at least a deterrent to cancer and dementia. Good luck to everyone.

Bagrat in reply to Georgianjane

NOACs or DOACs ( direct oral anticoagulants as they are becoming known) do not affect INR. May be a bit misleading to consider their "antidotes" as bringing INR down although we understand what you're getting at.

Please read the article- there have been no Clinical Trials,so I wouldn’t panic !

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