Inherited resistance to activated protein C (APC) was recently discovered to be a cause of familial thrombophilia and is now known to be the most common genetic risk factor for venous thrombosis. It is caused by a single point mutation in the gene for factor V, which predicts substitution of arginine (R) at position 506 with a glutamine (Q). Accordingly, the activated form of mutated factor V (FVa:Q506) is more slowly degraded by activated protein C than normal FVa (FVa:R506) is, resulting in hypercoagulability and a lifelong 5- to 10-fold increased risk of venous thrombosis. Previously known inherited hypercoagulable states, i.e. deficiencies of the anticoagulant proteins antithrombin III, protein S, and protein C, are found in fewer than 10–15% of thrombosis patients in western countries, whereas inherited APC resistance is present in 20–60% of such patients. The FV mutation is common in populations of Caucasian origin, with prevalences ranging from 1–15%, whereas it is not found in certain other ethnic groups such as Japanese and Chinese. The high prevalence of APC resistance, in combination with the availability of simple laboratory tests, will have a profound influence on the development of therapeutic and prophylactic regimens for thrombosis and will, it is hoped, result in a decreased incidence of thromboembolic events.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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