The Positive Effects of Exercise in Chemotherapy-Related Cardiomyopathy

Elena Cavarretta, Giorgio Mastroiacovo, Annik Lupieri, Giacomo Frati, Mariangela Peruzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthracyclines such as doxorubicin, daunorubicin, epirubicin, mitoxantrone and idarubicin, are powerful chemotherapeutic drugs used both in children and adult populations. Their properties made them particularly suitable for a large variety of neoplasms including breast adenocarcinoma, small cell lung cancer and acute leukemia. Early and late anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity is a well-known phenomenon, and the incidence of heart failure in patients receiving doxorubicin is 2.2%, with a mortality rate over 60% at 2 years. Prognosis can be improved by prevention, early detection and treatment. A specific treatment for anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity is not yet available, but non-pharmacological measures such as exercise, lifestyle changes and control of risk factors have shown a cardioprotective effect. Exercise training represents a viable non-pharmacological treatment as it increases cardiovascular reserve and endothelial function, regulates proapoptotic signaling, protects against reactive oxygen species (ROS), and decreases autophagy/lysosomal signaling. However, no current guidelines are available for prevention management in cancer patients. Pharmacological measures both for prevention and treatment are those used for heart failure (β-blockers, angiotensin-receptor blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, statins, dexrazoxane and aldosteron antagonists). In this chapter, we will discuss how the evaluation, monitoring and prevention of chemotherapy-related cardiomyopathy is correlated with physical exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-129
Number of pages27
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Journal Article


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