Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

No sign of treatment-induced cardiotoxicity in breast cancer patients

Long-term heart-specific mortality among 347 476 breast cancer patients treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy: a registry-based cohort study

Literature - Weberpals J, Jansen L, Mueller OJ, et al. - Eur Heart J 2018; published online ahead of print

Introduction and Methods

Improvements in radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment have resulted in increased survival in breast cancer patients, but there are concerns about treatment-induced long-term mortality due to decline in left ventricular ejection fraction and cardiac disease. Recent data showed that in breast cancer patients, the cumulative mortality due to CVD is higher compared with the cumulative mortality due to the underlying breast cancer disease [1,2]. However these data did not include comparisons with CV mortality in the general population [3].

In this registry-based retrospective cohort study, the long-term heart-specific mortality was assessed in 347,476 US female breast cancer patients treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Competing risks were taken into account, and a comparison with the general US female population was done.

For this purpose, the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-18 (SEER-18) database was used that includes 18 regional cancer registries throughout the USA [4]. For the present analysis, women aged ≥15 years with a first primary malignant breast cancer diagnosis between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2011, treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and a known status of stage, surgery and a known cause of death were identified. The primary endpoint was CV mortality.

Main results


In breast cancer patients treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy, the heart-specific mortality was not increased compared with the general female population, suggesting no treatment-induced cardiotoxicity in these patients.


Show references

Find this article online at Eur Heart J

Share this page with your colleagues and friends: