Clinical Research Papers:

The paradox of the first cycle of chemotherapy—transient improvement of contractility and diastolic function after the first cycle of anthracycline-based chemotherapy: a prospective clinical trial

Paweł Stachowiak _, Andrzej Wojtarowicz, Marta Milchert-Leszczyńska, Krzysztof Safranow, Michał Falco, Robert Kaliszczak and Zdzisława Kornacewicz-Jach

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:96442-96452. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21279

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Paweł Stachowiak1, Andrzej Wojtarowicz1, Marta Milchert-Leszczyńska2, Krzysztof Safranow3, Michał Falco2, Robert Kaliszczak1 and Zdzisława Kornacewicz-Jach1

1Department of Cardiology, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland

2Department of Radiotherapy, West Pomeranian Oncology Center, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland

3Department of Biochemistry and Medical Chemistry, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland

Correspondence to:

Paweł Stachowiak, email: [email protected]

Keywords: anthracycline, breast cancer, cardiotoxicity, diastolic function, speckle tracking

Received: July 26, 2017     Accepted: September 08, 2017     Published: September 27, 2017


Aims: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and anthracyclines are the most commonly administered drugs for these patients. Cardiotoxicity is one of the complications, which limits the success of this therapy. Very few studies have evaluated anthracycline toxicities within the first few hours after the first infusion, and the majority of published studies were performed in animal models. The present study aimed to evaluate changes in echocardiographic parameters in women with breast cancer 24 hours after receiving the first dose of an anthracycline.

Materials and Methods and Results: The present study included 75 chemotherapy-naive female patients without heart failure, who were diagnosed with breast cancer and were scheduled to undergo anthracycline-based chemotherapy (epirubicin and doxorubicin). During their visits to the Heart Center, the patients underwent detail echocardiographic examination, including assessment of systolic and diastolic function and longitudinal strain. There were no differences in baseline echocardiographic parameters between patients with and those without cardiotoxicity. Cardiotoxicity was observed during follow-up in 14 patients (18.7%). Improvements in left ventricular ejection fraction and global longitudinal strain were observed at 24 hours after administration of the cytotoxic agent in the subgroup of patients without further cardiotoxicity. The changes were transient and the assessment of left ventricular ejection fraction after completion of chemotherapy revealed similar values to those before the treatment.

Conclusions: The findings of our study suggest that transient improvement in contractility and systolic and diastolic function might occur 24 hours after anthracycline administration, especially in patients who do not develop cardiotoxicity.

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