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Low molecular weight dextran ( LWMD), administered during surgery, may help prevent subsequent distant metastases from accidental "seeding," University of Minnesota Medical School studies indicate.
However, the use of both the method and of LMWD itself still are in the experimental stages, said J. Bradley Aust, MD, PhD, professor of surgery and cancer coordinator.
No clinical studies have been attempted, although animal work indicates "the theory is valid," he told JAMAMedical News.
Certain operative procedures, in carcinoma of the colon for instance, carry the unprovable risk of accidental spreading of malignant cells via the blood stream.
Work by other investigators has shown that heparin prevents cells from clumping and adhering to the vascular bed. Increased coagulation times induced by the agent restrict its use, however. The hemodiluting qualities of LMWD attracted the Minnesota investigators.
Mice, pretreated with either saline or LMWD, were challenged intravenously with large concentrations of tumor cells.
LMWD: Will It Help Prevent Accidental Cancer 'Seeding'?. JAMA. 1966;195(5):38. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100050020009