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Br J Cancer. 2004 Jul 5;91(1):37-44.

Cardiac abnormalities 15 years and more after adriamycin therapy in 229 childhood survivors of a solid tumour at the Institut Gustave Roussy.

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Department of Paediatric Oncology, Institut Gustave Roussy, rue Camille Desmoulins 39, 94805 Villejuif, France.


The purpose of this paper was to determine the cardiac status in children 15 years or more after adriamycin therapy for a solid tumour. Of the 447 pts, 229 pts were fully studied and 218 were not. The following cardiac evaluations were proposed to all the 447 consecutive patients (pts): (1) cardiac Doppler US by one of two expert cardiologists; (2) cardiac rhythm and conduction abnormalities including 24-hour holter ECG; (3) (131)l-mlBG myocardial scintigraphy; (4) serum brain natriuretic peptide levels at rest; (5) an exercise test with VO(2) max measurement. The radiation doses delivered to 6 points in the heart were estimated for all patients who had received radiotherapy. Congestive heart failure was diagnosed in 24 of 229 (10%) evaluated pts, with a median interval of 15 years (0.3-24 years) from the first symptom after adriamycin treatment. Among the 205 remaining pts, 13 asymptomatic pts (6%) had severe (n=4) (FS<20%) or marked (n=9) (20< or =FS<25%) systolic dysfunction. In the 192 others, the median meridional end-systolic wall stress was 91 (53-135) and it exceeded 100 g cm(-2) in 52 pts. Using a Cox model, only the cumulative dose of adriamycin and the average radiation dose to the heart, were identified as risk factors for a pathological cardiac status. In conclusion, the risk of cardiac failure or severe abnormalities increases with adriamycin treatment, radiotherapy and time since treatment, even after a follow-up of 15 years or more. In our series, after an average follow-up of 18 years, 39% of the children had a severe cardiac dysfunction or major ventricular overload conditions. The risk increases with the dose of adriamycin and radiation received to the heart, without evidence for threshold.

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