Author(s): Ky B, Vejpongsa P, Yeh ET, Force T, Moslehi JJ
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Abstract The cardiovascular care of cancer patients (cardio-oncology) has emerged as a new discipline in clinical medicine, given recent advances in cancer therapy, and is driven by the cardiovascular complications that occur as a direct result of cancer therapy. Traditional therapies such as anthracyclines and radiation have been recognized for years to have cardiovascular complications. Less expected were the cardiovascular effects of targeted cancer therapies, which were initially thought to be specific to cancer cells and would spare any adverse effects on the heart. Cancers are typically driven by mutations, translocations, or overexpression of protein kinases. The majority of these mutated kinases are tyrosine kinases, though serine/threonine kinases also play key roles in some malignancies. Several agents were developed to target these kinases, but many more are in development. Major successes have been largely restricted to agents targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (mutated or overexpressed in breast cancer), BCR-ABL (chronic myelogenous leukemia and some cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia), and c-Kit (gastrointestinal stromal tumor). Other agents targeting more complex malignancies, such as advanced solid tumors, have had successes, but have not extended life to the degree seen with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Years before the first targeted therapy, Judah Folkman correctly proposed that to address solid tumors one had to target the inherent neoangiogenesis. Unfortunately, emerging evidence confirms that angiogenesis inhibitors cause cardiac complications, including hypertension, thrombosis, and heart failure. And therein lies the catch-22. Nevertheless, cardio-oncology has the potential to be transformative as the human cardiomyopathies that arise from targeted therapies can provide insights into the normal function of the heart.
This article was published in Circ Res
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research