NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, On-tario, CanadaThe cardiotoxicity of anthracyclines can occur many years after treatment for childhood cancer. Studies exploring methods to prevent these effects were presented at the 7th International Conference for Long-Term Complications of Treatment of Children and Adolescents for Cancer, hosted by Ros-well Park Cancer Institute.
A group of researchers from the Gustave-Roussy Institute, Villejuif, France, confirmed heart damage in a group of childhood cancer survivors who received anthracycline therapy (abstract 9). Late cardiotoxicity (15 years post-diagnosis) was found to be a health concern for 88 of 230 patients (38%), Dr. F. de Vathaire said.
Using a Cox model, the researchers confirmed that cumulative dose of anthracycline and the average radiation dose to the heartbut not sex or age at treatmentwere risk factors for cardiac impairment. The health risks increased with increased drug dosages.
To counter these type of effects, researchers from the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK, investigated a method of lengthening anthracycline infusion time to possibly decrease cardiotoxicity (abstract 11).
The team, led by Dr. Gill Levitt, found no differences in cardiotoxicity between acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients treated in a standard manner (bolus dosing) and patients who received the drugs via a 6-hour dosing schedule. Cardiac abnormalities appeared in 24% of both groups.
The patients received their cumulative 180 mg/m2 daunorubicin(Drug information on daunorubicin) dose while participating in two different studies in England: UKALL X (bolus dose) and UKALL XI (6-hour infusion). The cohort consisted of 40 ALL survivors from UKALL X and 71 ALL survivors from UKALL XI. Cardiac performance in the cancer patients was compared with that in 100 normal children.