REVIEW – February 2012

Cancer treatment-related cardiotoxicity


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Due to the ageing of population and wide distribution of cardiac risk factors, more patients have cancer and concomitant cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, cancer therapy can increase the risk of heart disease and cause cardiotoxicity. Drugs and treatment modalities that mostly cause cardiotoxicity include anthracyclines, trastuzumab, fluoropyrimidines, inhibitors of angiogenesis and radiotherapy. Cancer treatment may result in arrhythmias, acute coronary syndrome, myocarditis, pericarditis, left ventricular dysfunction, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart fai lure and cardiac death. Therefore, there is a need for oncologists to be aware of patients`preexisting cardiac problems and cardiac side effects related to cancer treatment. Only after assessing the potential benefits and harms of planned treatment, safe anticancer therapy can be administered. For this, close cooperation with cardiologists is also necessary.