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15 December 2016

Patients with diabetes treated for cancer may face an increased risk of developing heart failure, a European conference has heard.

The findings come from monitoring studies of patients who received chemotherapy at the Hospital Garcia de Orta in Almada, Portugal.

Doctors found significant signs of increased risk of heart failure in patients with diabetes.

There were also signs of increased risk among patients with hypertension.

The study also raised questions about the extent to which damage to heart came from the anthracycline-based chemotherapy and the extent to which it came from the cancer itself.

Doctors studied some 83 patients, 54 with breast cancer, 20 with lymphoma and nine with gastric cancer.

They used echocardiography to analyse heart chamber dimensions, systolic and diastolic function, ejection fraction and global longitudinal strain.

The researchers found stronger cardiotoxic effects among patients with gastric cancer and lymphoma than among those with breast cancer.

They reported their findings at the EuroEcho-Imaging conference in Leipzig, Germany.

Researcher Dr Ana Catarina Gomes said: “Cardiotoxicity induced by chemotherapy with anthracyclines is being increasingly reported, mainly because a smaller proportion of patients now die from cancer.

“In the coming years this cardiotoxicity looks set to increase the burden of heart failure in cancer survivors.”

“The good news is that cardiotoxicity can be reversible in the early stages before overt heart failure develops. Surveillance programmes are hugely beneficial, particularly in the first year of treatment when up to 80% of the systolic dysfunction develops.”

She added: “Subclinical reduction in global longitudinal strain is an early predictor of heart failure and was particularly pronounced in patients with diabetes. It is possible that the trend for greater reduction in patients with hypertension might become statistically significant in a larger study.”

Abstract: The effect of cardiovascular risk factors and cancer type in anthracycline's cardiotoxicity EuroEcho-Imaging 2016

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