Navigation Links
Breast Cancer Radiation Linked to Raised Heart Risk
Date:12/28/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have breast cancer on the left side of the body and who are treated with radiation therapy have a higher risk of developing narrowing of the arteries that lead to the heart, researchers say.

A new Swedish study found that the risk of having moderately narrowed coronary arteries was more than four times greater for women who had left-sided breast cancers treated with radiation compared to right-sided breast cancers treated with radiation. The odds were seven times higher for more severe narrowing on the left side versus the right, according to the study published in the Dec. 27 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"We suggest that the coronary arteries be regarded as organs at risk in radiation therapy, and that every effort be made to avoid radiation dose to the coronary arteries," wrote study authors led by Dr. Greger Nilsson, of the department of oncology, radiology and clinical immunology at Uppsala University Hospital.

However, it's also important to note that of a group of 8,190 women who had breast cancer, just 199 had to be referred for coronary angiography (a treatment for blocked blood vessels).

"Women need to be aware that there is a risk, but the overall risk is still relatively small, and the benefits of radiation in the treatment of breast cancer still outweigh the risks," said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, are designed to destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, healthy cells are often damaged, too. Treatment techniques are constantly being refined, and today's treatments target fewer healthy cells than treatments from years past.

For example, newer radiation techniques help protect the heart and the arteries leading to it, according to Dr. Timothy Zagar, an assistant professor in radiation oncology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One such technique is to give bursts of radiation only when a patient is taking a deep breath. During a deep breath, the main artery going to the heart separates from the breast and chest wall, which keeps it away from the radiation.

Zagar, co-author of an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal, said researchers don't know exactly how radiation causes damage to coronary arteries, but it's believed to damage the cells lining the arteries (endothelial cells), which causes inflammation, which can lead to hardening of the arteries.

The current study included women from Sweden who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1970 and 2003. Of the 8,190 women, the researchers found 199 women who had undergone coronary angiography, suggesting significant coronary artery disease.

Coronary artery narrowing (stenosis) is graded on a scale of zero to 5. Zero indicates a healthy blood vessel, while 5 indicates a blocked blood vessel.

When the researchers compared women who'd had radiation treatment on the left side of their body versus the right, they found that the odds of a grade 3 to grade 5 stenosis in a left-sided artery were 4.38 times higher. The odds of a grade 4 or grade 5 stenosis were 7.22 times higher for women who had left-sided breast cancer.

In women who received radiation in high-risk areas near the heart's arteries, the risk of a grade 3 to grade 5 stenosis was nearly twice as high as it was in women who had radiation in low-risk areas, or who didn't have radiation.

Zagar pointed out that this study was done over a long period of time and that changes in the way radiation is delivered would likely result in lower odds of coronary artery stenosis for women treated with radiation today.

In addition, Zagar said, "I don't think this study's findings would justify changing from a lumpectomy [breast-conserving surgery] to a mastectomy [surgical removal of the breast]. Breast-conserving therapy is very important to many women, and the number of coronary events are still low," he added.

"It's important to understand that with all treatments, there are risks," Bernik said. "And, we know that this is one of the risks with radiation of left-sided breast cancer. Women need to keep in mind that they're at increased risk of coronary events and need to follow up with their doctor going forward."

More information

Learn more about radiation treatment for cancer from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Timothy Zagar, M.D., assistant professor, department of radiation oncology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief, surgical oncology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Dec. 27, 2011, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Paxil Blocks Tamoxifen, Lowers Survival Odds Against Breast Cancer
2. Low forms of cyclin E reduce breast cancer drugs effectiveness
3. Racial disparities persist in the diagnosis of advanced breast cancer and colon cancer in the U.S.
4. For Some Breast Cancer Patients, Shorter Radiation Works Well
5. Short-term radiation therapy successful on breast cancer
6. Few Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer Take Tamoxifen
7. Hormone May Prevent Aggressive Breast Cancer
8. MSU researcher linking breast cancer patients with alternative therapies
9. MRI May Not Add Value to Routine Breast Cancer Care
10. Breast Cancer Stats Differ Racially Despite Similar Mammogram Rates
11. Businesses Rally Big Efforts to Benefit the Susan G. Komen Phoenix Affiliates Fight Against Breast Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Breast Cancer Radiation Linked to Raised Heart Risk
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... , ... Two director-level employees of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New ... honorees. The award recognizes businesswomen who excel in their fields and who have ... MLTSS (Managed Long-Term Services and Supports) Program at Horizon NJ Health and Theresa Ponton, ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... , ... With over 60 percent of acute stroke survivors being left unable ... aid in the rehabilitation process has steadily increased. Ekso Bionics had been working to ... to stroke. , Ekso Bionics has now received clearance from the U.S. Food and ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... Mediaplanet to help educate the many who are unaware of the plight of ... aphasia will run within the “Stroke Awareness” campaign. , The link between stroke ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Aimed at nurses and employees in ... come courtesy of leaders in the nursing and health care industry. It also provides ... associations—namely Abilene Christian University. , As the nursing industry is coming out of ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Despite last week’s media reports hinting at a ... to wait until March 2017 for an interest rate increase, according to Rajeev Dhawan ... Business. , “The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) dot charts are of interest to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... 27, 2016 According to the ... is driving ambulatory blood pressure monitoring system market growth. ... their ability to respond to different pressure rates, leading ... lead to various cardiovascular disorders such as heart failure, ... diseases are growing in prevalence each year. WHO estimates ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... New York , May 26, 2016 ... Market Research "Medical Waste Management Market - U.S. Industry Analysis, ... medical waste management market in the U.S. was valued at ... at a CAGR of 3.4% from 2015 to 2023 to ... provides exhaustive analysis of current and emerging needle free drug ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , May 25,2016 ... the near-infrared Cellvizio platform for urological and surgical ... OTCQX: MKEAY) inventor of Cellvizio®, the multidisciplinary confocal ... regulatory milestone in the US with the 12 ... and Drug Administration (FDA). This new FDA clearance ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: