Heart damage from certain anti-cancer drugs no longer should be regarded as a rare or relatively unimportant complication, scientists in Italy have concluded in a new overview of research on the cardiotoxicity of anti-cancer drugs. Their review recommends that drug regulatory agencies, physicians, and toxicologists join in a focused research effort to combat the problem.
In the new study, Giorgio Minotti, Pierantonio Menna, and Emanuela Salvatorelli point out that the risk of cardiotoxicity may be higher than previously believed, especially in older patients and those with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and other risk factors. Studies of long-term survivors of childhood and adult cancer -- more than 10 million people in the United States alone -- also suggest an increased risk of symptomatic cardiac events.
Their review found that newer, targeted drugs can damage the heart, particularly when combined with old-generation chemotherapeutics. "Toxicologists and regulatory agencies and clinicians should therefore join in collaborative efforts that improve early identification of cardiotoxicity and minimize the risks of cardiac events in patients," the article notes.
The article "Cardiotoxicity of Antitumor Drugs" is scheduled for the May 19 issue of Chemical Research in Toxicology,
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