Cancer: the side effects of drugs on the heart of diabetics

Health 1 February, 2017

Diabetic patients with cancer have higher risk of heart failure during chemotherapy, suggests a study.

The latest research news against cancer are presented and exclusively by Professor David Khayat, oncology department head at the Piti

Patients with cancer who suffer from diabetes may experience greater cardiac side effects during chemotherapy. Treatment would increase their risk of heart failure. This is the conclusion of a small-scale Portuguese study. There are more and more toxic effects on the heart, known as cardiotoxicity, caused by anthracyclines, explains the lead author of the study, Dr. Ana Catarina Gomes, a cardiologist in hospital training Garcia de Orta in Almada (Portugal). These anti-cancer drugs include doxorubicin (Doxil) and epirubicin (Ellence).

The research was conducted as part of a hospital surveillance program. A total of 83 patients were followed, including 54 with breast cancer, 20 with lymphoma and 9 with gastric cancer. The average age of patients was 52 years and 78% of them were women. Patients with diabetes showed more signs of early warning of heart failure. According to Dr. Gomes, in the years to come, this cardiotoxicity should increase the burden of heart failure in cancer survivors. But, it may be reversible before manifest heart failure develops. Cancer patients should carefully monitor cardiovascular risk factors by adjusting their lifestyle. But, this cardiac prevention should never delay the onset of chemotherapy because cancer treatment is the top priority. The results were presented at the EuroEcho-Imaging meeting in Leipzig, Germany. This research is considered preliminary until it is peer-reviewed and published in a journal