Reduction in myocardial function and oxygen consumption after chemoradiotherapy in patients with esophageal cancer

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BACKGROUND: Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) may induce myocardial dysfunction, congestive heart failure, and impaired physical performance in patients with esophageal cancer (EC). We aimed to investigate left ventricular (LV) function at rest and during stress, using echocardiography (echo) and a cardiopulmonary exercise (CPX) test both before and immediately after completing CRT.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Consecutive EC patients referred for curative treatment were enrolled. Patients attended either definitive CRT or neoadjuvant CRT with subsequent surgery. The evaluation included cardiac biomarkers, electrocardiogram, echo, and CPX test. The primary endpoint was changes in left ventricular (LV) global longitudinal strain (GLS) at rest. Secondary endpoints were LV ejection fraction (LVEF), LV diastolic function, LVEF and GLS at peak exercise, and maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max). The trial was registered with (NCT03619317).

RESULTS: Among 47 patients enrolled (94% male; median age 67 years, range 50-86 years), cardiac examinations were performed a median of three days [Interquartile range (IQR (1-5))] before CRT and one day [IQR (0-6)] after CRT. At rest, GLS and LVEF decreased, 17.6 vs. 16.4% and 56.4 vs. 55.1%, respectively (p = 0.004; p = 0.030). Furthermore, an absolute decrease of at least 5% in LVEF and 2.5% in GLS was noted in 21% of the patients. Signs of LV diastolic dysfunction increased from 13 to 21% (p = ns). VO2max significantly decreased; 21.2 ml/kg/min vs. 18.8 ml/kg/min (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: LV function and physical performance decreased in EC patients after CRT, and the LV systolic reserve capacity declined. This study highlighted that EC treatment was associated with early cardiac side effects, which may have clinical and prognostic implications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Oncologica
Pages (from-to)566-574
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

    Research areas

  • Esophageal cancer, cardiac function, cardiotoxicity, chemoradiotherapy, working capacity

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