Researchers at BC Children’s Hospital and UBC have linked a type of chemotherapy to heart failure.
In a study released yesterday, patients with a particular genetic variation and who underwent Anthracycline chemotherapy, face five times the risk of heart damage.
Co-author of the study, Dr. Bruce Carleton says for those with the gentic variation, the drugs weaken the heart so it can’t function.
“This is something that isn’t quite well understood. In terms of the mechanism that these drugs destroy heart function, but it may in fact be a direct effect on the cells that make up the heart, the cardiomayocytes, and damage them in a variety of ways. “
Dr. Carleton says predicting patients who will suffer from the damage will help doctors offer better treatment.
“What we are trying to understand is the genetic predictors to heart damage caused by these drugs. So that we can predict the likelihood of serious heart damage before we start treatment.”
The study has spanned 6 years, and studied over 400 children.
With this information, doctors can offer other forms of drug therapy to patients.