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   Table of Contents - Current issue
April 2020
Volume 30 | Issue 5 (Supplement)
Page Nos. 1-53

Online since Friday, April 10, 2020

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Cardiac imaging in cardio-oncology: An ongoing challenging p. 1
Rodolfo Citro, Ines Paola Monte
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Early detection of myocardial damage: A multimodality approach p. 4
Giuseppina Novo, Cinzia Nugara, Antonella Fava, Antonio Mantero, Rodolfo Citro
Cardiovascular diseases are possible complications of antineoplastic treatment and may lead to premature morbidity and mortality among cancer survivors. A symptom-based follow-up is ineffective, and there are growing evidences that early detection of myocardial damage in patients treated with antineoplastic drugs is the key point to prevent the occurrence of damage and improve the prognosis of these patients. Different techniques have been proposed to monitor cardiac function in oncologic patients such as cardiac imaging (echocardiography, nuclear imaging, and cardiac magnetic resonance) and biomarkers (troponin and natriuretic peptides). The European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging/American Society of Echocardiography consensus document encourages an integrated approach to early detect cardiotoxicity.
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Vascular damage – Coronary artery disease p. 11
Christian Cadeddu Dessalvi, Martino Deidda, Mauro Giorgi, Paolo Colonna
Cardiovascular complications during chemotherapy and radiotherapy are becoming an increasing problem because many patients with cancer are treated with agents that exert significant vascular toxicity. Coronary heart disease in patients with cancer presents particular challenges, which directly impact the management of both the coronary disease and malignancy. Several chemotherapeutic agents have been shown to trigger ischemic heart disease, and as it has happened for myocardial cardiotoxicity, more attention should be dedicated to improving early recognition and prevention of cardiac vascular toxicity. Cardiac imaging could facilitate early detection of vascular toxicity, but a thorough risk stratification should always be performed to identify patients at higher risk of vascular impairment.
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Peripheral artery disease and stroke p. 17
Concetta Zito, Roberta Manganaro, Scipione Carerj, Francesco Antonini-Canterin, Frank Benedetto
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) and stroke can occur as vascular complication of anticancer treatment. Although the mechanisms, monitoring, and management of cardiotoxicities have received broad attention, vascular toxicities remain often underrecognized. In addition, the development of new chemotherapeutic drugs bears the risk of vasotoxicities that are yet to be identified and may not be realized with short-term follow-up periods. The propensity to develop PAD and/or stroke reflects the complex interplay between patient's baseline risk and preexisting vascular disease, particularly hypertension and diabetes, while evidence for genetic predisposition is increasing. Chemotherapeutic agents with a prominent vascular side effect profile have been identified. Interruption of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors (VEGFIs) signaling (i.e., bevacizumab) is associated with vascular toxicity and clinical sequelae such as hypertension, stroke, and thromboembolism beyond acute coronary syndromes. Cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil are the main drugs involved in the stroke risk. In addition, circulating concentrations of VEGF are reduced by cyclophosphamide administered at continuous low doses, which might underpin some of the observed vascular toxicity, such as stroke, as seen in patients treated with VEGF inhibitors. The risk of stroke is also increased after treatment with anthracyclines that can induce endothelial dysfunction and increase arterial stiffness. Proteasome inhibitors ( bortezomib and carfilzomib) and immunomodulatory agents (thalidomide, lenalidomide, and pomalidomide), approved for use in multiple myeloma, carry a black box warning for an increased risk of stroke. Finally, head-and-neck radiotherapy is associated with a doubled risk of cerebrovascular ischemic event, especially if exposure occurs in childhood. The mechanisms involved in radiation vasculopathy are represented by endothelial dysfunction, medial necrosis, fibrosis, and accelerated atherosclerosis. However, BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), used for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), is the main antineoplastic drugs involved in the development of PAD. In particular, second- and third-generation TKIs, such as nilotinib and ponatinib, while emerging as a potent arm in contrasting CML, are associated with a higher risk of PAD development rather than traditional imatinib. Factors favoring vascular complication are the presence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) and predisposing genetic factors, high doses of BCR-ABL TKIs, longer time of drug exposure, and sequential use of potent TKIs. Therefore, accurate cardiovascular risk stratification is strongly recommended in patient candidate to anticancer treatment associated with higher risk of vascular complication, in order to reduce the incidence of PAD and stroke through CVRF correction and selection of appropriate tailored patient strategy of treatment. Then, a clinical follow-up, eventually associated with instrumental evaluation through vascular ultrasound, should be performed.
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Valvular damage p. 26
Ines Paola Monte, Matteo Cameli, Valentina Losi, Fiorella Privitera, Rodolfo Citro
Valvular heart diseases (VHD) may be observed in patients with cancer for several reasons, including preexisting valve lesions, radiotherapy, infective endocarditis, and secondary to the left ventricle dysfunction. The incidence of VHD is especially in younger survivors treated with thoracic radiation therapy for certain malignancies, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer. The mechanism of radiation-induced damage to heart valves is not clear and includes diffuse fibrocalcific thickening of the valve. VHD is commonly diagnosed after a long latent period, in the context of clinical symptoms, or suspected on the basis of a new murmur. The evaluation includes identification of anatomical valve abnormalities, valve dysfunction, and assessing the functional consequences of valve dysfunction on the ventricles. Echocardiography is the optimal imaging technique for diagnostic and therapeutic management. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance and computed tomography (CT) may be used to assess the severity of VHD, but cardiac CT is mainly useful for detecting extensive calcifications of the ascending aorta. Patients exposed to mediastinal radiotherapy and minimal valve dysfunction require follow-up of 2–3 years, with moderate valve disease yearly, with severe, should be assessed for valve surgery.
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Atrial fibrillation, cancer and echocardiography p. 33
Maurizio Galderisi, Roberta Esposito, Regina Sorrentino, Lucia La Mura, Ciro Santoro, Antonella Tufano
Nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF) is a relatively frequent arrhythmia in cancer patients; it is possibly due to direct effect of cancer or consequence of cancer therapies. AF creates important problems for both therapeutic management and prognosis in cancer patients. The anticoagulation of cancer patients presenting AF is a main issue because of the difficult balance between thromboembolic and bleeding risks, both elevated in this clinical setting. A comprehensive echo Doppler examination is mandatory to identify the eventual sources of emboli in left atrial (LA) cavity, mainly the transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), but also to predict the subsequent development of heart failure. This evaluation is particularly important to graduate anticoagulation and to prevent and manage symptoms/signs of heart failure. The performance of a TEE precardioversion is highly encouraged to detect possible thrombi in LA appendage. A careful assessment of LA size (LA volume index) and function (LA emptying fraction and/or LA strain) should always be planned to predict the possible recurrence of AF paroxysmal episodes. This is in fact a key action, not only from the cardiologic point of view but also for the oncologic perspectives in individual situations. Patients with larger left atrium and more impaired LA function should be addressed toward a less aggressive cancer treatment, with drugs which are not associated or are poorly related with the risk of AF development. A correct and comprehensive echocardiographic assessment could even induce the oncologist to change the cancer management balancing the oncologic and the cardiac risk.
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Thrombotic risk in cancer patients: Diagnosis and management of venous thromboembolism p. 38
Rodolfo Citro, Costantina Prota, Elvira Resciniti, Ilaria Radano, Alfredo Posteraro, Antonella Fava, Ines Paola Monte
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) represents a major health problem, especially in cancer patients, who experience a significantly higher incidence of both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism compared to the general population. Indeed, patients with cancer have a prothrombotic state resulting in both increased expression of procoagulants and suppression of fibrinolytic activity. In addition, VTE increases the morbidity and mortality of these patients. For all these reasons, the prevention and treatment of VTE in cancer setting represent major challenges in daily practice. In general, low-molecular-weight heparin monotherapy is the standard of care for the management of cancer-associated VTE, as Vitamin K antagonists are less effective in this setting. Direct oral anticoagulants offer a potentially promising treatment option for cancer patients with VTE, since recent studies demonstrated their efficacy and safety also in this peculiar setting.
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Cardiac tumors p. 45
Grazia Casavecchia, Chiara Lestuzzi, Matteo Gravina, Giovanni Corrado, Maurizio Tusa, Natale D Brunetti, Vincenzo Manuppelli, Ines Paola Monte
Cardiac tumors (CTs) are extremely rare, with an incidence of approximately 0.02% in autopsy series. Primary tumors of the heart are far less common than metastatic tumors. CTs usually present with any possible clinical combination of heart failure, arrhythmias, or embolism. Echocardiography remains the first diagnostic approach when suspecting a CT which, on the other side, frequently appears unexpectedly during an echocardiographic examination. Yet, cardiac tomography and especially magnetic resonance imaging may offer several adjunctive opportunities in the diagnosis of CTs. Early and exact diagnosis is crucial for the following therapy and outcome of CTs.
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