Cardiac Events in Childhood Cancer Survivors Treated with Anthracyclines: The Value of Previous Myocardial Strain Measurement.

M. Pourier, R. Merkx, J. Loonen, A. van Cleef, C. de Korte, L. Bellersen, L. Kapusta and A. Mavinkurve-Groothuis




In echocardiographic surveillance of anthracycline-treated childhood cancer survivors (CCS), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) has insufficient prognostic value for future cardiac events, whereas longitudinal strain may be more sensitive. We describe the long-term incidence of cardiac events in CCS after previous measurement of LVEF and myocardial strain. Echocardiography, including four-chamber view longitudinal strain (4CH-LS), of 116 anthracycline-treated CCS was obtained between 2005-2009 (index echocardiography). Follow-up was obtained at the late-effects clinic. Primary outcome was occurrence of cardiac events, defined as either symptomatic heart failure, life-threatening arrhythmias, LVEF < 40% or cardiac death, in CCS with normal versus abnormal index 4CH-LS. LVEF from subsequent echocardiograms was obtained to evaluate its natural course as a secondary outcome. After index echocardiography (median 13.1 years since childhood cancer diagnosis), our study added a median follow-up of 11.3 years (median last clinical contact 23.6 years since diagnosis). Only three CCS developed a cardiac event (6.2, 6.4 and 6.7 years after index echocardiography), resulting in a ten-year cumulative incidence of 2.7% (95%CI 0.9-8.2). All three CCS had a clearly reduced index 4CH-LS and relevant cardiovascular risk factors, whereas their index LVEFs were around the lower limit of normal. Index LVEF correlated with index 4CH-LS but mean long-term natural course of LVEF was comparable for CCS with abnormal versus normal index 4CH-LS. Absolute 10-year cumulative incidence of cardiac events in anthracycline-treated CCS during long-term follow-up was low. Sensitive echocardiographic measurements, such as 4CH-LS may be useful to tailor surveillance frequency in a selected group of CCS without cardiovascular disease.