Breast cancer patients who take heart drug with trastuzumab have less heart damage

December 5, 2018, European Society of Cardiology
3D Model of the heart by Dr. Matthew Bramlet. Credit: NIH

Breast cancer patients who take a heart drug at the same time as trastuzumab have less heart damage, according to a study presented today at EuroEcho-Imaging 2018.1

"Heart damage is a major side effect of the breast cancer drug trastuzumab and may force patients to stop treatment," said lead author Dr. Maryam Moshkani Farahani, associate professor, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. "Our study suggests that patients who take the beta-blocker carvedilol together with trastuzumab have less damage than those who take trastuzumab alone."

The study enrolled 71 patients with non-metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. Patients were randomly allocated to receive trastuzumab with, or without, carvedilol.

Impaired function of the heart's is the main type of heart damage caused by trastuzumab. Carvedilol is used to treat patients with impaired left ventricular function after a . It is also prescribed for heart failure and high blood pressure.

For the study, an imaging technique called two-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography was used to assess the systolic and diastolic function of the left ventricle initially and at three months. Specifically, systolic function was measured using global longitudinal strain and strain rate, while diastolic function was assessed with strain rate.

According to all of the measurements, systolic and diastolic left ventricular function were better preserved at three months in patients who took carvedilol with trastuzumab compared to those who took trastuzumab alone.

The pumping function of the heart (left ventricular ejection fraction) did not differ between treatment groups at the start of the study or at three months. "The measures we used to assess left ventricular function – namely global longitudinal strain and strain rate – are more sensitive than left ventricular ejection fraction," explained Dr. Moshkani Farahani.

Dr. Moshkani Farahani noted that carvedilol can cause side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness, fainting, mood changes, shortness of breath, and diarrhoea. Patients who feel unwell when taking the medication should consult their doctor.

She concluded: "The findings indicate that carvedilol may be an effective way to prevent the caused by treatment. We now advise our patients with non-metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer to take prophylactic carvedilol, but a larger study is needed before firm recommendations can be made."

Explore further: Breast cancer patients who take heart drug with trastuzumab have less heart damage

Related Stories

Breast cancer patients who take heart drug with trastuzumab have less heart damage

December 5, 2018
Breast cancer patients who take a heart drug at the same time as trastuzumab have less heart damage, according to a study presented today at EuroEcho-Imaging 2018.

Popular heart medications can prevent Herceptin-induced heart issues in some patients

March 12, 2018
Breast cancer patients who started taking one of two well-known heart medications at the same time they initiated trastuzumab—a targeted cancer therapy that has been linked to heart damage—received no benefit in terms ...

Beta blocker shows mixed results in protecting against chemo-induced heart damage

March 12, 2018
After six months of follow up, women newly diagnosed with breast cancer who were given the beta blocker carvedilol to prevent heart issues while undergoing chemotherapy showed no difference in declines in heart function compared ...

Meds don't cut trastuzumab-tied left ventricular remodeling

December 3, 2016
(HealthDay)—For patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-overexpressing (HER2-positive) early breast cancer, perindopril and bisoprolol do not prevent trastuzumab-mediated left ventricular remodeling, according ...

Prioritize cardiac monitoring for high-risk breast cancer patients

August 6, 2018
Overall, heart failure is an uncommon complication of breast cancer treatment; however, the risk is higher in patients treated with certain types of chemotherapy and lower in younger patients, according to a study in a special ...

Researchers find beta blockers have positive effect in pulmonary arterial hypertension

August 31, 2017
A team of Cleveland Clinic researchers found that a common heart disease medication, beta blockers, may help treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a debilitating lung disease.

Recommended for you

10-year follow-up after negative colonoscopies linked to lower colorectal cancer risk

December 17, 2018
Ten years after a negative colonoscopy, Kaiser Permanente members had 46 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with and were 88 percent less likely to die from colorectal cancer compared with those who did not undergo colorectal ...

Survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma face high long-term risk of solid cancers

December 17, 2018
New research refines existing evidence that survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma face an elevated risk of developing various types of solid tumors many years later. In addition, certain subgroups of patients have an especially ...

Treatment shown to improve the odds against bone marrow cancer

December 15, 2018
Hope has emerged for patients with a serious type of bone marrow cancer as new research into a therapeutic drug has revealed improved outcomes and survival rates.

Can stem cells help a diseased heart heal itself? Researchers achieve important milestone

December 14, 2018
A team of Rutgers scientists, including Leonard Lee and Shaohua Li, have taken an important step toward the goal of making diseased hearts heal themselves—a new model that would reduce the need for bypass surgery, heart ...

Immunotherapy combo not approved for advanced kidney cancer patients on the NHS

December 14, 2018
People with a certain type of advanced kidney cancer will not be able to have a combination of two immunotherapy drugs on the NHS in England.

New drug seeks receptors in sarcoma cells, attacks tumors in animal trials

December 13, 2018
A new compound that targets a receptor within sarcoma cancer cells shrank tumors and hampered their ability to spread in mice and pigs, a study from researchers at the University of Illinois reports.

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.