Review and meta-analysis of incidence and clinical predictors of anthracycline cardiotoxicity

Marzia Lotrionte, Giuseppe Biondi-Zoccai, Antonio Abbate, Gaetano Lanzetta, Fabrizio D'Ascenzo, Vincenzo Malavasi, Mariangela Peruzzi, Giacomo Frati, Giovanni Palazzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The management of individual patients requiring anthracyclines remains challenging because uncertainty persists on predictors of cardiotoxicity. We aimed to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis on incidence and predictors of anthracycline chemotherapy in patients with cancer. Databases were searched for pertinent studies. Meta-analytic pooling with random-effects methods was performed for incidence estimates, while relying on descriptive statistics for prevalence and strength of association of predictors. From 16,054 retrieved citations, 18 studies reporting on 49,017 patients with cancer were included, with 22,815 treated with anthracyclines. After a median follow-up of 9 years, clinically overt cardiotoxicity occurred in 6% (95% confidence interval 3% to 9%), whereas subclinical cardiotoxicity developed in 18% (95% confidence interval 12% to 24%). Appraisal of independent risk factors of cardiotoxicity showed that cumulative anthracycline dose was most consistently reported as an accurate and robust predictor of cardiotoxicity, with an acceptable prognostic role also for chest radiotherapy, African-American ethnicity, very young or very old age, diabetes, hypertension, very high or very low body weight, or severe co-morbidities. In conclusion, despite ongoing refinements in chemotherapy regimens, anthracyclines still pose a significant risk of cardiotoxicity, especially in those requiring a high cumulative dose or chest radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1980-1984
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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