Pathophysiology of anthracycline cardiotoxicity

Donato Mele, Carlo G. Tocchetti, Pasquale Pagliaro, Rosalinda Madonna, Giuseppina Novo, Alessia Pepe, Concetta Zito, Nicola Maurea, Paolo Spallarossa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthracyclines (ANTs) are powerful drugs that have reduced the mortality of cancer patients. However, their use is limited by the development of cardiotoxicity (CTX), which is dose dependent and may lead to left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure. Although various strategies have been suggested to reduce the negative effects of ANTs, CTX is still an important unresolved clinical issue. This may be due at least partly to the incomplete characterization of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of ANT-induced CTX. In addition, although various forms of cardiac damage have been demonstrated with the use of these drugs in experimental studies, it is not yet clear how these translate to the clinical setting. Appropriate characterization of potential candidates for ANT-based therapies is essential to decide whether to administer these drugs. Hopefully, new information from genetic profiling will help to identify patients who are at high risk of developing CTX.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S3-S11
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Medicine
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016


  • anthracyclines
  • cancer
  • cardiotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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