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Pediatr Cardiol. 2013 Apr;34(4):826-34. doi: 10.1007/s00246-012-0539-6. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

Cranial irradiation as an additional risk factor for anthracycline cardiotoxicity in childhood cancer survivors: an analysis from the cardiac risk factors in childhood cancer survivors study.

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Division of Pediatric Clinical Research, Department of Pediatrics and Bachelor Children's Research Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, P.O. Box 016820, Miami, FL 33101, USA.


Anthracycline-treated childhood cancer survivors experience cardiac damage that results in decreased left ventricular (LV) mass, leading to increased LV wall stress, which underlies their greater risk of cardiomyopathy. Many of these survivors also are at risk of growth hormone (GH) abnormalities from cranial irradiation exposure, although it is unknown whether such exposure is associated with cardiotoxicity. Echocardiograms and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a marker of GH, were measured in 130 anthracycline-treated childhood cancer survivors, 59 of whom had been exposed to cranial irradiation, a mean 10 years after their cancer diagnosis. Echocardiographic parameters and IGF-1 were standardized relative to age or body surface area using data from sibling control subjects and expressed as the percentage difference from normal values. The results showed that after adjustment for other risk factors, survivors exposed to cranial irradiation had an additional 12 % decrease in LV mass compared with unexposed survivors (P < 0.01) and an additional 3.6 % decrease in LV dimension (P = 0.03). Survivors exposed to cranial irradiation also had a 30.8 % decrease in IGF-1 relative to normal values, which was greater than the 10.5 % decrease in unexposed survivors (P < 0.01). The above findings led us to conclude that in anthracycline-treated childhood cancer survivors a mean 10 years after their diagnosis, those with cranial irradiation exposure had significantly greater decreases in LV mass and dimension. Because cranial irradiation also was associated with decreased IGF-1, it is possible that GH deficiencies mediated this effect, suggesting that GH replacement therapy may help to prevent the development of cardiotoxicity.

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