Tags: breast | cancer | drug | heart

Cancer Chemo Promotes Heart Disease

Monday, 03 September 2012 02:32 PM

Breast cancer patients treated with two common chemotherapy drugs may have a greater risk of heart problems than previously believed, new research shows.
The Cancer Research Network study by Group Health Research Institute found women treated with the cancer drugs anthracycline and trastuzumab were more likely to experience cardiac problems, including heart failure and cardiomyopathy that past research suggests.
The findings, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, are significant because more women are surviving longer with breast cancer than ever before, so it's becoming a chronic disease, making long-term risks of some treatments a greater concern.
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"These drugs are toxic. They kill cancer cells, and sometimes kill other cells in the body, too," said lead researcher Erin Aiello Bowles, an epidemiologist at Group Health. “These drugs are still important for women with breast cancer to use because we know they improve survival. But as with any drug, people need to be aware of the risks, too."
For the study, researchers tracked 12,500 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer treated with one or both chemotherapy drugs. The results showed the overall risk of developing heart problems was significantly higher in women on anthracycline compared with no chemotherapy. The risk of cardiac problems was even greater among women who used trastuzumab. And the risk among women who used both anthracycline and trastuzumab was greater than previously reported.
Researchers noted breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States, with an estimated 232,620 new diagnoses in 2011.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
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Breast cancer patients treated with two chemotherapy drugs face greater heart dangers.
Monday, 03 September 2012 02:32 PM
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