Could an effective breast cancer therapy be bad for the heart? NIH awards $3.1M to find out

Estrogen depletion therapy is a common treatment for women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer—but how does it affect long-term cardiac outcomes? 

That’s the question that researchers from Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center, and the Duke Cancer Institute will attempt to answer with the help of a newly-awarded $3.1 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. 

“We have made great strides in the treatment of breast cancer,” said Susan Dent, M.D., professor of medicine at Duke University and the study’s lead investigator for patients enrolled at the Duke Cancer Institute, in a statement about the grant. “[But] we need a better understanding of the cardiovascular consequences of breast cancer treatments so that we don’t offset the gains we have made in breast cancer survival with early onset cardiovascular disease.” 

The study will look for early signs of blood vessel damage in 90 breast cancer patients aged 55 and under, including 65 patients who will receive standard estrogen depletion therapy and 25 patients whose breast cancer is hormone-receptor negative and will not be receiving the therapy. 

Researchers will follow each participant for five years. To determine the extent of any possible negative cardiac outcomes during that time, patients will receive a cardiac MRI stress test at the beginning of the study, as well as at one- and two-year intervals. Additionally, all patients will receive CT imaging of cardiac arteries at baseline and after two years, and also undergo blood tests to look for biomarkers correlated with cardiovascular disease risk. 

“State-of-the-art cardiovascular imaging will allow us to study cardiovascular health in young breast cancer survivors who have decades of survivorship health to protect,” said Jennifer Jordan, Ph.D., who is an assistant professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Biomedical Engineering and Pauley Heart Center and who also serves as co-principal investigator of the study. 

The study will be called “Cardiac Outcomes with Near Complete Estrogen Deprivation” (CROWN), and the news release announcing the grant notes that researchers hope to recruit a diverse group of women as participants. 


Related Content: 

Why women’s risk for CVD spikes later in life

Early menopause could increase heart failure risk in women

Earlier menopause could increase risk for poor cardiovascular outcomes

Innovation at work

AirECMO, Inc., a division of Keystone Perfusion Services, P.C. announces a strategic partnership with industry leading air ambulance provider, REVA, to provide ECMO transportation capabilities globally. ECMO is an extracorporeal technique of providing prolonged cardiac and respiratory support to persons whose heart and lungs are unable to maintain hemodynamic stability.

Around the web

Defendants in the case allegedly defrauded CMS for millions of dollars that were spent on luxury vehicles, real estate and more.

Brian Ghoshhajra, MD, division chief, cardiovascular imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, explains what specialized training is needed to perform coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) as interest rapidly rises in this field. 

Brian Ghoshhajra, MD, MBA, division chief, cardiovascular imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of radiology, Harvard Medical School, and a board member of the Society of cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT), explains the rapidly expanding interest in cardiac computed tomography (CT) under the new chest pain evaluation guidelines.

Trimed Popup
Trimed Popup