Blood test offers early warning of chemotherapy-related heart problems

April 27, 2020

Bethesda, MD - Scientists have identified a collection of biomarkers that together signal that a person's cancer treatment may be harming their heart. After further validation, the biomarkers could eventually allow doctors to assess cardiovascular side effects of chemotherapy with a simple blood test early in the treatment process.

Heart problems are a side effect of several cancer therapies. Anthracyclines, a family of chemotherapy drugs used to treat many types of cancer, carry a particularly high risk. For example, about 17% of patients receiving anthracycline for the most aggressive forms of breast cancer have to stop therapy due to cardiac complications.

Doctors typically use echocardiograms, an ultrasound of the heart, to look for signs of heart damage at various points during treatment. However, echocardiograms can be expensive, and they show problems only after damage has already occurred.

"Compared to the current standards for diagnosing chemotherapy-related cardiac dysfunction (CRCD), the biomarker panel we have suggested would be cost effective and easy to implement, but more importantly, would aid in earlier diagnosis, risk assessment and CRCD progression monitoring that would ultimately improve patient care and outcomes," said study author Hari Vishal Lakhani, a clinical research associate at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. "It is especially relevant to patients in rural, lower socioeconomic communities, who may not be have access to serial echocardiography as a means to diagnose CRCD."

Lakhani was scheduled to present the research at the American Society for Investigative Pathology annual meeting in San Diego this month. Though the meeting, to be held in conjunction with the The FASEB Journal.

The researchers compared blood samples from 17 healthy women with samples from 17 women undergoing anthracycline treatment for breast cancer. The women with breast cancer also received echocardiograms before beginning anthracycline and three months and six months after starting treatment.

The results revealed significant differences in the levels of a dozen biomarkers related to cardiovascular changes between the two groups. While no single biomarker was sufficient to predict CRCD on its own, in combination they provided a reliable predictor of heart toxicity as assessed with echocardiography. Many of the biomarkers showed detectable changes well before heart damage was visible on an echocardiogram.

The biomarkers include a variety of proteins as well as microRNAs (miRNAs), which affect gene expression. The particular miRNAs identified in the study have previously been implicated in cardiac dysfunction and the proteins have been linked with inflammation, damage to the heart muscle and other processes involved in heart disease.

"Our results support the clinical application of these serum biomarkers and circulating miRNAs to develop a panel for early diagnosis of chemotherapy-related cardiac dysfunction which will enable early detection of disease progression and management of irreversible cardiac damage," said Lakhani. "A biomarker panel may in fact be better than serial echocardiography, because the information gathered from a biomarker panel could allow appropriate intervention to be taken before any cardiac damage has occurred."

Knowing a patient is showing signs of heart problems could lead doctors to adjust the chemotherapy type or dosage, or prescribe medications for heart failure. Giving doctors the information they need to take such steps earlier in the treatment process could substantially reduce the number of cancer patients who suffer illness or death as a result of chemotherapy-related heart problems, Lakhani said.
-end-
Contact the media team for more information.

Image available.

About Experimental Biology 2020
Experimental Biology is an annual meeting that attracts more than 12,000 scientists and exhibitors from five host societies and more than two dozen guest societies. With a mission to share the newest scientific concepts and research findings shaping clinical advances, the meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity for exchange among scientists from across the U.S. and the world who represent dozens of scientific areas, from laboratory to translational to clinical research.
http://www.experimentalbiology.org #expbio

About the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP)
ASIP is a society of biomedical scientists who investigate mechanisms of disease. Investigative pathology is an integrative discipline that links the presentation of disease in the whole organism to its fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms. ASIP advocates for the practice of investigative pathology and fosters the professional career development and education of its members. http://www.asip.org

About The FASEB Journal
Receive monthly highlights from The FASEB Journal by e-mail. Sign up at http://www.faseb.org/fjupdate.aspx. The FASEB Journal is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). It is among the most cited biology journals worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information and has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century.

Find more press materials at: https://www.eurekalert.org/meetings/eb/2020/newsroom/

Experimental Biology

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.