Association of Breast Cancer Irradiation With Cardiac Toxic Effects: A Narrative Review

Icro Meattini, Philip M Poortmans, Marianne Camille Aznar, Carlotta Becherini, Elisabetta Bonzano, Daniela Cardinale, Daniel J Lenihan, Livia Marrazzo, Giuseppe Curigliano, Lorenzo Livi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: To promptly recognize and manage cardiovascular (CV) risk factors before, during, and after cancer treatment, decreasing the risk of cancer therapy-related cardiac dysfunction is crucial. After recent advances in breast cancer treatment, mortality rates from cancer have decreased, and the prevalence of survivors with a potentially higher CV disease risk has increased. Cardiovascular risks might be associated with the multimodal approach, including systemic therapies and breast radiotherapy (RT).

Observations: The heart disease risk seems to be higher in patients with tumors in the left breast, when other classic CV risk factors are present, and when adjunctive anthracycline-based chemotherapy is administered, suggesting a synergistic association. Respiratory control as well as modern RT techniques and their possible further refinement may decrease the prevalence and severity of radiation-induced heart disease. Several pharmacological cardioprevention strategies for decreasing cardiac toxic effects have been identified in several guidelines. However, further research is needed to ascertain the feasibility of these strategies in routine practice.

Conclusions and Relevance: This review found that evidence-based recommendations are lacking on the modalities for and intensity of heart disease screening, surveillance of patients after RT, and treatment of these patients. A multidisciplinary and multimodal approach is crucial to guide optimal management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)924-932
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Association of Breast Cancer Irradiation With Cardiac Toxic Effects: A Narrative Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this