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Saving the heart in breast cancer treatment

Date:
July 17, 2014
Source:
ecancer
Summary:
Breast cancer awareness campaigns stress saving the breasts - but what about the heart? Breast cancer patients who are positive for the HER2 gene may be at increased risk for heart damage during chemotherapy, according to a new study. Cardio-oncology is a relatively new field of research, emerging as scientists and doctors understand the connections between cancer treatment and the heart.

Breast cancer awareness campaigns stress saving the breasts -- but what about the heart?

Breast cancer patients who are positive for the HER2 gene may be at increased risk for heart damage during chemotherapy, according to a new study published in ecancermedicalscience.

Patients with the HER2 gene are often treated with trastuzumab or lapatinib, which interfere with its cancer-causing signals.

However, researchers at the University of Louisville, Kentucky and Kentucky One Health noted that some patients' hearts seemed to be weakening under treatment.

"Breast cancer patients treated with either trastuzumab or lapatanib may have an increase in stress hormones (catecholamines), a decrease in protective growth factor (neuregulin), and an increase in blood pressure," says lead author Dr Carrie Geisberg Lenneman. "This may contribute to why certain patients have a decline in heart function during chemotherapy treatment."

Cardio-oncology is a relatively new field of research, emerging as scientists and doctors understand the connections between cancer treatment and the heart.

"We hope that physicians will consider treating hypertension that may arise in breast cancer patients," Dr Lenneman says, suggesting that existing treatments such as beta-blockers may mitigate the damage.

"Hopefully, this study will lead to larger clinical trials examining the role of beta-blockers as cardioprotective therapy in the HER2-positive treated patients."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ecancer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carrie G Lenneman, Wissam M Abdallah, Holly M Smith, Vandana Abramson, Ingrid A Mayer, Cheri Silverstein, Julie Means-Powell, Sachin Y Paranjape, Daniel Lenihan, Douglas B Sawyer and Satish R Raj. Sympathetic nervous system alterations with HER2 antagonism: an early marker of cardiac dysfunction with breast cancer treatment? ecancermedicalscience, July 2014 DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2014.446

Cite This Page:

ecancer. "Saving the heart in breast cancer treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717094818.htm>.
ecancer. (2014, July 17). Saving the heart in breast cancer treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717094818.htm
ecancer. "Saving the heart in breast cancer treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140717094818.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

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