Targeted therapies in breast cancer: Are heart and vessels also being targeted?

Carmen Criscitiello, Otto Metzger-Filho, Kamal S. Saini, Gilberto de Castro, Marie Diaz, André La Gerche, Evandro de Azambuja, Martine J. Piccart-Gebhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of 'targeted' therapies implies that such drugs only act on cells that specifically express the particular target, therefore giving rise to a low incidence of side effects. However, targeted therapies currently approved for the treatment of breast cancer have demonstrated a relatively high incidence of cardiovascular events. The anti-HER2 agents trastuzumab and lapatinib may cause left ventricular dysfunction or even congestive heart failure. Bevacizumab, an antiangiogenic drug, has been shown to increase the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular dysfunction and thromboembolic events. In addition, several anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and antiangiogenic agents plus their combinations are currently being developed and evaluated for the treatment of breast cancer. In this review, we aim to assess the incidence of cardiac adverse events associated with targeted therapies designed to block HER2 and angiogenic pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number209
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 19 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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