Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

High risk of thrombosis in patients homozygous for factor V Leiden (activated protein C resistance) [see comments]

  1. FR Rosendaal,
  2. T Koster,
  3. JP Vandenbroucke, and
  4. PH Reitsma
  1. Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Resistance to activated protein C (APC) is a common inherited risk factor for venous thrombosis, which is associated with a mutation in coagulation factor V (factor V Leiden). We investigated the risk of venous thrombosis in individuals homozygous for this abnormality. We determined the factor V Leiden genotype in 471 consecutive patients aged less than 70 years with a first objectively confirmed deep-vein thrombosis and in 474 healthy controls. We found 85 heterozygous and seven homozygous individuals among the cases with thrombosis and 14 heterozygous individuals among the control subjects. The expected number of homozygous individuals among the controls was calculated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and estimated at 0.107 (allele frequency, 1.5%). Whereas the relative risk was increased sevenfold for heterozygous individuals, it was increased 80-fold for homozygous individuals. These patients experienced their thrombosis at a much younger age (31 v 44 years). The homozygous individuals were predominantly women, most likely due to the effect of oral contraceptives. Because of the increased risk of thrombosis with age, the absolute risk becomes most pronounced in older patients, both for heterozygous and homozygous individuals. For the homozygous individuals, the absolute risk may become several percentage points per year. This implies that most individuals homozygous for factor V Leiden will experience at least one thrombotic event in their lifetime.