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Ann Afr Med. 2020 Jan-Mar;19(1):1-7. doi: 10.4103/aam.aam_24_19.

Cytotoxic-induced heart failure among breast cancer patients in Nigeria: A call to prevent today's cancer patients from being tomorrow's cardiac patients.

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Department of Medicine; Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.


in English, French

We report three cases of heart failure (HF) associated with the use of cytotoxic drugs such as anthracycline, cyclophosphamide, and 5-fluorouracil in the treatment of breast cancer in Nigerians. The patients had systolic and diastolic HF: HF with reduced ejection fraction and preserved ejection fraction. The prevalence of breast cancer is increasing across Africa, and cytotoxics are some of the most common and best drugs used during management. The cardiotoxicity caused by these drugs limits their use as chemotherapeutic agents. Cytotoxic-induced HF is a preventable and manageable cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Nigeria and Africa. This article discusses the pathophysiology of cytotoxic-induced HF and presents the risk factors that impair cardiovascular function. The importance of proper assessment and the prophylactic and therapeutic measures in the management of cytotoxic-induced HF are emphasized. The peculiar challenges in the management of cytotoxic-induced HF in Nigeria were also discussed. The need for early involvement of cardiologists by oncologists to improve on the chemotherapeutic and cardiovascular outcome in the management of patients with breast cancer was stressed. Perhaps, it is time to birth a new discipline of cardiooncology in Nigeria.


Breast cancer chemotherapy; Nigeria; cardiologists; cytotoxics; heart failure; oncologists

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