Heart disease risk appears associated with breast cancer radiation

October 28, 2013

Among patients with early stages of breast cancer, those whose hearts were more directly irradiated with radiation treatments on the left side in a facing-up position had higher risk of heart disease, according to research letter to JAMA Internal Medicine by David J. Brenner, Ph.D, D.Sc, of Columbia University Medical Center, New York, and colleagues.

Several reports have suggested links between radiation and long-term cardiovascular-related deaths, according to the study background.

Researchers examined the radiation treatment plans of 48 patients with stage 0 through IIA breast cancer who were treated after 2005 at the New York University Department of Radiation Oncology. They calculated the association between factors, such as mean cardiac dose, , treatment side, body positioning and coronary events.

According to study results, the highest coronary risks were seen for left-sided treatment in women of high baseline risk treated in the supine (lying down, head facing up) position. The lowest risks were for right-sided treatment in low-baseline risk women. In left-sided radiation, prone (lying down, facing down) position reduces cardiac doses and risks, while body positioning has little effect in right-sided therapy (where the heart is always out of field).

"Because the effects of radiation exposure on cardiac disease seem to be multiplicative, the highest absolute risks correspond to the highest baseline cardiac risk," the authors conclude. "Consequently, radiotherapy-induced risks of major coronary events are likely to be reduced in these patients by targeting baseline cardiac risk factors (cholesterol, smoking, hypertension), by lifestyle modification, and/or by pharmacological treatment."

Explore further: Chest radiation cancer patients with risk factors should have CV screening every 5-10 years

More information: JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 28, 2013. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11790

Related Stories

Chest radiation cancer patients with risk factors should have CV screening every 5-10 years

July 16, 2013
Sophia Antipolis, 16 July 2013: Cancer patients who receive chest radiation should be screened for heart disease every 5-10 years, according to the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) of the European Society ...

External beam RT for early-stage breast cancer does not increase mortality risks

September 24, 2013
Early-stage breast cancer patients who receive external beam therapy (XRT) are not at higher risk for serious long-term side effects in the chest area, including increase in deaths from cardiac disease and secondary malignancies, ...

Face-down position may be safer during radiation for breast cancer: study

September 6, 2012
(HealthDay)—Changing the position of a patient while receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer may reduce the later risks of heart and lung problems, according to a new study.

No long-term heart risks from breast radiation, study suggests

October 29, 2012
(HealthDay)—A new study allays concerns that early-stage breast cancer patients who receive radiation treatment might have a long-term increased risk for heart problems.

Heart surgery increases death risk for cancer survivors who had radiation

April 8, 2013
Cancer survivors who had chest radiation are nearly twice as likely to die in the years after having major heart surgery as similar patients who didn't have radiation, according to research in the American Heart Association ...

Radiation for breast cancer can harm hearts, study finds

March 13, 2013
Women treated with radiation for breast cancer are more likely to develop heart problems later, even with the lower doses used today, new research suggests. The risk comes from any amount of radiation, starts five years after ...

Recommended for you

Laser device placed on the heart identifies insufficient oxygenation better than other measures

September 20, 2017
A new device can assess in real time whether the body's tissues are receiving enough oxygen and, placed on the heart, can predict cardiac arrest in critically ill heart patients, report researchers at Boston Children's Hospital ...

Metabolism switch signals end for healing hearts

September 19, 2017
Researchers have identified the process that shuts down the human heart's ability to heal itself, and are now searching for a drug to reverse it.

Beta blockers not needed after heart attack if other medications taken

September 18, 2017
A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill finds beta blockers are not needed after a heart attack if heart-attack survivors are taking ACE inhibitors and statins. The study is the first to challenge ...

Which single behavior best prevents high blood pressure?

September 15, 2017
(HealthDay)—You probably already know that certain healthy lifestyle behaviors can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, but is any one behavior more important than the others?

RESPECT trial shows closing a small hole in heart may protect against recurrent stroke

September 13, 2017
A device used to close a small hole in the heart may benefit certain stroke patients by providing an extra layer of protection for those facing years of ongoing stroke risk, according to the results of a large clinical trial ...

Study shows so-called 'healthy obesity' is harmful to cardiovascular health

September 11, 2017
Clinicians are being warned not to ignore the increased cardiovascular health risks of those who are classed as either 'healthy obese' or deemed to be 'normal weight' but have metabolic abnormalities such as diabetes.

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.