Heart failure in older breast cancer patients linked to medication

November 14, 2012, Yale University

Heart failure is a relatively common complication in older women with breast cancer, but the risk is even higher in those patients treated with adjuvant trastuzumab (Herceptin), Yale School of Medicine researchers report in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The researchers conducted this study because older women who are at higher risk of decreased heart function, were often excluded from randomized clinical trials of trastuzumab, which is used to treat that over-express human -2 (HER-2). Past clinical trials in younger, healthier women showed improved survival, but also increased linked to trastuzumab, especially when combined with a frequently used therapy called anthracycline chemotherapy.

"We observed an even higher risk of heart failure or cardiomyopathy after trastuzumab therapy than those in past clinical trials," said lead author Jersey Chen, M.D., assistant professor of cardiology at Yale University School of Medicine and a member of the Yale Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at Yale.

The Yale COPPER team examined the association between the use of adjuvant trastuzumab and anthracycline therapy and heart failure and cardiomyopathy, the most serious cardiotoxic complications, in 45,536 female with early-stage breast cancer. The use of trastuzumab has increased over time from 2.6% of the women who received any adjuvant therapy in 2000 to 22.6% in 2007.

The team found that compared with patients who received no or trastuzumab; use of trastuzumab was associated with a 14% higher adjusted incidence rate for heart failure or cardiomyopathy over three years. Patients who received both trastuzumab and anthracycline had a 23.8% higher rate, and those treated with anthracycline chemotherapy alone had a 2.1% higher rate of or cardiomyopathy events over three years.

"Further study is needed to fully understand the benefits and risks of trastuzamab when they are used in the real-world population," said Cary Gross, senior author of the study and director of the COPPER Center.

Explore further: More heart problems with two chemo drugs for breast cancer

More information: J Am Coll Cardiol 18231 Vol. 60, No. 25

Related Stories

More heart problems with two chemo drugs for breast cancer

August 30, 2012
Women who have breast cancer and are treated with two chemotherapy drugs may experience more cardiac problems like heart failure than shown in previous studies, according to a new Cancer Research Network study by Group Health ...

Balancing trastuzumab's survival benefits and heart risks for women with breast cancer

April 17, 2012
Adding trastuzumab (trade name Herceptin) to the treatment offered to women who have HER2-positive breast cancer, significantly increases the chance of life being prolonged, and reduces the chance of tumours reappearing once ...

Breast cancer treatment shows benefit for women with small, localized disease

June 28, 2011
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center physician-scientists report that women with small, node-negative, HER2-positive breast cancer may obtain a significant benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy with trastuzumab (Herceptin), ...

Trastuzumab and chemotherapy improved survival in HER2-postive breast and brain cancer patients

July 18, 2011
The use of trastuzumab, chemotherapy and surgery among women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer significantly improved survival from the time central nervous system metastases were diagnosed.

Recommended for you

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

Place of residence linked to heart failure risk

January 9, 2018
Location. Location. Location.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.