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Expert opinion on the use of anthracyclines in patients with advanced breast cancer at cardiac risk

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Chris PlummerORCiD, Dr Mark Verrill


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Anthracyclines are considered to be among the most active agents for the treatment of breast cancer. However, their use is limited by cumulative, dose-related cardiotoxicity. Such cardiotoxicity results in a permanent loss of cardiac myocytes and a progressive reduction in cardiac function following each subsequent dose of anthracycline. Initially, damage to the heart is subclinical; however, increasingly impaired cardiac function can result in cardiovascular symptoms, with serious cardiac injury resulting in chronic heart failure. Since the early detection and treatment of cardiotoxicity can reduce its clinical effects, it is important that oncologists are aware of these adverse effects and manage them appropriately. This review examines the risk factors for anthracycline-associated cardiotoxicity and offers recommendations on strategies to reduce the cardiotoxicity of anthracyclines in the management of patients with advanced breast cancer.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barrett-Lee PJ, Dixon JM, Farrell C, Jones A, Leonard R, Murray N, Palmieri C, Plummer CJ, Stanley A, Verrill MW

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of Oncology

Year: 2009

Volume: 20

Issue: 5

Pages: 816-827

ISSN (print): 0923-7534

ISSN (electronic): 1569-8041


URL: .http:/

DOI: 10.1093/annonc/mdn728