In the context of modern cancer chemotherapeutics, cancer survivors are living longer and being exposed to potential comorbidities related to non-cancer side effects of such treatments. With close monitoring of cancer patients receiving potentially cardiotoxic medical therapies, oncologists, and cardiologists alike are identifying patients in both clinical and subclinical phases of cardiovascular disease related to such chemotherapies. Specifically, cardiotoxicity at the level of the myocardium and potential for the development of heart failure are becoming a growing concern with increasing survival of cancer patients. Traditional chemotherapeutic agents used commonly in the treatment of breast cancer and hematologic malignancies, such as anthracyclines and HER-2 antagonists, are well known to be associated with cardiovascular sequelae. Patients often present without symptoms and an abnormal cardiac imaging study performed as part of routine evaluation of patients receiving cardiotoxic therapies. Additionally, patients can present with signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease months to years after receiving the chemotherapies. As the understanding of the physiology underlying the various cancers has grown, therapies have been developed that target specific molecules that represent key aspects of physiologic pathways responsible for cancer growth. Inhibition of these pathways, such as those involving tyrosine kinases, has lead to the potential for cardiotoxicity as well. In view of the potential cardiotoxicity of specific chemotherapies, there is a growing interest in identifying patients who are at risk of cardiotoxicity prior to becoming symptomatic or developing cardiotoxicity that may limit the use of potentially life-saving chemotherapy agents. Serological markers and novel cardiac imaging techniques have become the source of many investigations with the goal of screening patients for pre-clinical cardiotoxicity. Additionally, studies have been performed.
Source : Cardiotoxicity of cancer therapeutics: current issues in screening, prevention, and therapy. Sheppard RJ (firstname.lastname@example.org), Berger J, Sebag IA. Front Pharmacol. 2013;4:19.
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