Popular heart medications can prevent herceptin-induced heart issues in some patients

ORLANDO (March 11, 2018) — Breast cancer patients who started taking one of two well-known heart medications at the same time they initiated trastuzumab–a targeted cancer therapy that has been linked to heart damage–received no benefit in terms of preventing declines in heart function, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session. However, in patients who had received or were concurrently receiving anthracycline-based chemotherapy in addition to trastuzumab, the occurrence of heart damage was halved among those taking either the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-inhibitor) lisinopril or beta blocker carvedilol, compared with placebo after two years of follow-up.

“Our findings suggest that among women who are only on a standard course of trastuzumab neither carvedilol nor lisinopril seem to make a difference, but for those who had a history of being on anthracycline, these medications can be cardioprotective and should be considered,” said Maya E. Guglin, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease, University of Kentucky, and lead author of the study.

This study comes amid growing awareness that certain cancer therapies can contribute to heart failure or other heart problems. While smaller studies have looked at the utility of


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