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Acta Oncol. 2019 Jun 20:1-9. doi: 10.1080/0284186X.2019.1630751. [Epub ahead of print]

Adjuvant radiotherapy-induced cardiac changes among patients with early breast cancer: a three-year follow-up study.

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a Department of Oncology , Tampere University Hospital , Tampere , Finland.
b Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology , Tampere University , Tampere , Finland.
c Heart Center , Tampere University Hospital , Tampere , Finland.
d Heart and Lung Center , Helsinki University Central Hospital , Helsinki , Finland.
e Research Innovation and Development Center , Tampere University Hospital and Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University , Tampere , Finland.


Background: In this study, we evaluate the evolution of cardiac changes during a three-year follow-up after adjuvant breast radiotherapy (RT). Methods: Sixty patients with left-sided and 20 patients with right-sided early stage breast cancer without chemotherapy were included in this prospective study. Echocardiography and cardiac biomarkers were evaluated before, immediately after and 3 years after RT. Radiation doses to cardiac structures were calculated. Results: In echocardiography, left ventricle (LV) systolic measurements had impaired at 3 years compared to baseline: the mean global longitudinal strain (GLS) worsened from -18 ± 3 to -17 ± 3 (p = .015), LV ejection fraction from 62 ± 5% to 60 ± 4% (p = .003) and the stroke volume from 73 ± 16 mL to 69 ± 15 mL (p = .015). LV diastolic function was also negatively affected: the isovolumetric relaxation time was prolonged (p = .006) and the first peak of diastole decreased (p = .022). Likewise, left atrial (LA) measurements impaired. These changes in echocardiography were more prominent in left-sided than in right-sided patients. The concurrent aromatase inhibitor (AI) use was associated with GLS impairment. In all patients, the N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (proBNP) values were median (interquartile range) 74 (41-125) ng/L at baseline, 75 (41-125) ng/L at the end of RT and 96 (56-162) ng/L at 3 years (p < .001 from baseline to 3 years). However, proBNP did not increase in right-sided patients. Conclusion: During the 3-year follow-up after RT, negative subclinical changes in cardiac biomarkers and in LV systolic and diastolic function were observed. The measured changes were more pronounced in left-sided patients. In addition, AI use was associated with impaired cardiac systolic function.

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