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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 186-192

Cardiotoxic effects of radiotherapy and strategies to reduce them in patients with breast cancer: An overview

Department of Family Practice, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice-Zabrze, Poland

Correspondence Address:
Katarzyna Rygiel
3 Maja Street 13/15, 41-800 Zabrze
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.187303

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Cardiotoxicity of various anticancer therapies, including radiotherapy (RT), can lead to cardiovascular (CV) complications, and their severity depends on many factors, including the site of action, the applied dose, the method of administration, the presence of pre-existing CV diseases, or CV risk factors, the individual patient characteristics, and the current or previous use of antineoplastic therapies. Cardiotoxicity can occur immediately upon administration of the anticancer therapy or it may have a delayed onset (months or years after the treatment). For an oncology treatment team, it is essential that the patients with cancer are in their best cardiac condition before they initiate anticancer therapy, during remission, and after its termination, and thus, a collaboration with cardiologists is of utmost importance. This article reviews cardiotoxicity associated with RT, focusing on patients with breast cancer. In addition, it outlines the main management strategies to assess, monitor, reduce, or possibly prevent RT-induced cardiotoxicity, based on the current research evidence. Medline literature review relating to this subject was performed, using the electronic search for the keywords “radiotherapy” and “cardiotoxicity” on PubMed for inclusion of the previous publications, and further search of reference articles on the detection and management of radiation-related heart disease in patients with breast cancer was conducted.

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