Overall, heart failure is an uncommon complication of breast cancer treatment; however, the risk is higher in patients treated with certain types of chemotherapy and lower in younger patients, according to a study in a special “Imaging in Cardio-oncology” issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. Researchers concluded that cardiac monitoring should be a higher priority for high-risk patients.
Cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death of breast cancer survivors, behind secondary malignancies, due in part to the cardiac toxicities of some cancer therapies. However, little is known about the rate of chemotherapy-related cardiotoxicity and the rate of cardiac monitoring adherence among breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy.
In this study, cardiotoxicity was defined as an incident case of heart failure following a breast cancer diagnosis. The study included 16,456 patients with a median age of 56 years who were treated with chemotherapy within six months of their diagnosis. Of those, 4,325 patients received trastuzumab-based chemotherapy.
Trastuzumab-based chemotherapy is a common treatment for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, a very aggressive type of cancer. It has consistently been shown to benefit patients, but it is also associated with cardiotoxicity.
The study found that 8.3 percent of the trastuzumab-treated patients
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