Late cardiovascular side effects of cancer treatment

BJMO - volume 16, issue 1, february 2022

M. Moonen MD, PhD, C. Jacquemart MD, G. Jerusalem MD, PhD, P. Lancellotti MD, PhD


Thanks to the enormous progress made in cancer treatment, there are more and more cancer survivors. Oncologists are now concerned with the long-term management of patients who have recovered from their cancer. Giving them the best chance of a healthy survival is a very important issue. However, in this context, epidemiological studies and registries have revealed that the prognosis of cancer survivors is marred by the onset of more frequent and earlier cardiovascular disease. The emerging cardio-oncology discipline is seriously concerned about this issue as the number of patients potentially affected is large and growing. The task consists of identifying patients at increased risk of cardiovascular events after cancer treatment. Patients at risk are those with pre-existing cardiovascular risk factors and heart disease, and those exposed to anticancer treatment with cardiac toxicity that appears during their follow-up. Identifying those high-risk patients is possible thanks to clinical, biological and imaging monitoring. Furthermore, this monitoring allows therapeutic interventions, ranging from lifestyle recommendations to pharmacological treatment. However, several important pending questions remain, including whether cancer survivors would benefit from a more aggressive approach than that used to treat non-cancer survivor patients for the same cardiovascular problem.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2022;16(1):11–16)

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