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J Clin Oncol. 2012 Apr 1;30(10):1050-7. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.33.7907. Epub 2012 Mar 5.

Cardiovascular status of childhood cancer survivors exposed and unexposed to cardiotoxic therapy.

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University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33101, USA.



To determine whether cardiovascular abnormalities in childhood cancer survivors are restricted to patients exposed to cardiotoxic anthracyclines and cardiac irradiation and how risk factors for atherosclerotic disease and systemic inflammation contribute to global cardiovascular status.


We assessed echocardiographic characteristics and atherosclerotic disease risk in 201 survivors of childhood cancer with and without exposure to cardiotoxic treatments at a median of 11 years after diagnosis (range, 3 to 32 years) and in 76 sibling controls.


The 156 exposed survivors had below normal left ventricular (LV) mass, wall thickness, contractility, and fractional shortening and above normal LV afterload. The 45 unexposed survivors also had below normal LV mass overall, and females had below normal LV wall thickness. Exposed and unexposed survivors, compared with siblings, had higher levels of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (81.7 and 69.0 pg/mL, respectively, v 39.4 pg/mL), higher mean fasting serum levels of non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (126.5 and 121.1 mg/dL, respectively, v 109.8 mg/dL), higher insulin levels (10.4 and 10.5 μU/mL, respectively, v 8.2 μU/mL), and higher levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (2.7 and 3.1 mg/L, respectively, v 0.9 mg/L; P < .001 for all comparisons). Age-adjusted, predicted-to-ideal 30-year risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, or coronary death was also higher for exposed and unexposed survivors compared with siblings (2.16 and 2.12, respectively, v 1.70; P < .01 for both comparisons).


Childhood cancer survivors not receiving cardiotoxic treatments nevertheless have cardiovascular abnormalities, systemic inflammation, and an increased risk of atherosclerotic disease. Survivorship guidelines should address cardiovascular concerns, including the risk of atherosclerotic disease and systemic inflammation, in exposed and unexposed survivors.

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