Chronic progressive cardiac dysfunction years after doxorubicin therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Steven E. Lipshultz, Stuart R. Lipsitz, Stephen E. Sallan, Virginia M. Dalton, Suzanne M. Mone, Richard D. Gelber, Steven D. Colan

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607 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cross-sectional studies show that cardiac abnormalities are common in long-term survivors of doxorubicin-treated childhood malignancies. Longitudinal data, however, are rare. Methods: Serial echocardiograms (N = 499) were obtained from 115 doxorubicin-treated long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (median age at diagnosis, 4.8 years; median follow-up after completion of doxorubicin, 11.8 years). Results were expressed as z scores to indicate the number of standard deviations (SDs) above (+) or below (-) the normal predicted value. Median individual and cumulative doxorubicin doses were 30 mg/m2 per dose and 352 mg/m2, respectively. Results: Left ventricular fractional shortening was significantly reduced after doxorubicin therapy, and the reduction was related to cumulative dose. z scores for fractional shortening transiently improved before falling to -2.76 more than 12 years after diagnosis. Reduced fractional shortening was related to impaired contractility and increasing afterload, consequences of a progressive reduction of ventricular mass, and wall thickness relative to body-surface area. Left ventricular contractility fell significantly over time and was depressed at last follow-up in patients receiving more than 300 mg/m2 of doxorubicin. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were below normal more than 9 years after diagnosis. Even patients receiving lower cumulative doxorubicin doses experienced reduced mass and dimension. Fractional shortening and dimension at the end of therapy predicted these parameters 11.8 years later. Conclusion: Cardiac abnormalities were persistent and progressive after doxorubicin therapy. Inadequate ventricular mass with chronic afterload excess was associated with progressive contractile deficit and possibly reduced cardiac output and restrictive cardiomyopathy. The deficits were worst after highest cumulative doses of doxorubicin, but appeared even after low doses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2629-2636
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


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