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Br J Cancer. 2006 Apr 10;94(7):1016-20.

Cardiac toxicity of trastuzumab in metastatic breast cancer patients previously treated with high-dose chemotherapy: a retrospective study.

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  • 1Division of Medical Oncology, University Hospital, Via del Pozzo, 71-41100 Modena, Italy.


HER-2 overexpression is associated to a poor prognosis in high-risk and metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy (HDC). HER-2 status is also a predictive factor and when trastuzumab is administered in combination with or sequentially to chemotherapy, a significant disease-free and/or overall survival improvement has been observed in HER-2+ early and MBC. Unfortunately, in both settings, trastuzumab is associated with an increased risk of cardiac dysfunction (CD). We have reviewed the clinical charts of HER-2-overexpressing MBC patients treated with trastuzumab after HDC. Age, baseline left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), radiation therapy on cardiac area, exposure to anthracycline, single or multiple transplant, high-dose agents, trastuzumab treatment duration were recorded as potential risk factors. In total, 53 patients have been included in the analysis. Median LVEF at baseline was 60.5%; at the end of trastuzumab (data available for 28 patients only), it was 55% (P = 0.01). Five out of the 28 (17.9%) patients experienced CD. Two out of 53 (3.8%) patients developed a congestive heart failure. Age > or = 50 years and multiple transplant procedure were potential risk factors for CD. The overall incidence of CD observed in this population of HER-2+ MBC patients treated with trastuzumab after HDC is not superior to that reported with concomitant trastuzumab and anthracyclines. However, patients with age > or = 50 years or receiving multiple course of HDC should be considered at risk for CD.

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