Aims: Many cancer patients die due to cardiovascular disease and sudden death, but data on ventricular arrhythmia prevalence and prognostic importance are not known. Methods and results: Between 2005 and 2010, we prospectively enrolled 120 unselected patients with lung, colon, or pancreatic cancer due to one of three diagnoses: colorectal (n = 33), pancreatic (n = 54), or non-small cell lung cancer (n = 33). All were free of manifest cardiovascular disease. They were compared to 43 healthy controls similar in age and sex distribution. Each participant underwent 24 h electrocardiogram recording and cancer patients were followed for up to 12.5 years for survival (median 21 months). Ninety-six cancer patients (80%) died during follow-up [5-year survival: 27% (95% confidence interval 19–35%)]. Non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT) was more frequent in cancer patients vs. controls (8% vs. 0%, P = 0.021). The number of premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) over 24 h was not increased in cancer patients vs. controls (median 4 vs. 9, P = 0.2). In multivariable analysis, NSVT [hazard ratio (HR) 2.44, P = 0.047] and PVCs (per 100, HR 1.021, P = 0.047) were both significant predictors of mortality, independent of other univariable mortality predictors including tumour stage, cancer type, potassium concentration, prior surgery, prior cardiotoxic chemotherapy, and haemoglobin. In patients with colorectal and pancreatic cancer, ≥50 PVCs/24 h predicted mortality (HR 2.30, P = 0.0024), and was identified in 18% and 26% of patients, respectively. Conclusions: Non-sustained ventricular tachycardia is more frequent in unselected patients with colorectal, pancreatic, and non-small cell lung cancer and together with PVCs predict long-term mortality. This raises the prospect of cardiovascular mortality being a target for future treatment interventions in selected cancers.
- Non-sustained ventricular tachycardia
- Premature ventricular contractions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine