Radiation therapy

The study find that the The Radiation treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) extend patients’ lives, more of these patients are facing a different threat: But adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and heart failure. A new retrospective study led by investigators from Brigham and ; therefore Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute examined outcomes for patients after receiving treatment for locally advanced NSCLC.

The Radiation treatment

finding that the average radiation dose delivered to the heart was associated with an increased risk ;of major adverse cardiovascular events and death. Therefore Among patients who did not have preexisting coronary heart disease; risk of having a major cardiovascular event after treatment exceeded;Because  the rates of people considered at high risk of such events. The team’s findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“This is alarming data to think that one in 10 of the patients I’m treating for this type of cancer will go on to have a heart attack or other major cardiac event;” said senior author Raymond Mak; MD; a thoracic radiation oncologist at the Brigham and Dana-Farber. “These cardiac events are happening earlier and more often than previously thought.

Coronary heart disease

More patients are living long enough to experience this risk of cardiac toxicity. They need to start paying attention to this and working together with cardiologists to help these patients.” In many cases, a dose of radiation to the heart is the only way for oncologists to treat a patient with lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, and half of lung cancer patients will require radiation as part of their care.

Previous studies have reported that advances in care; such as screening for lung cancer and treating the disease with targeted therapies and immunotherapies; but have improved survival rates for patients. The average survival time is now more than two years for patients with locally advanced NSCLC.

Treating the disease

“When treating patients with lung cancer, it’s a balance of risks;” said lead author Katelyn Atkins; MD, Ph.D., a resident in the Harvard Radiation Oncology Residency Program. “But they need to start thinking about where there’s room for improvement in optimizing treatment for patients and room for improvement in terms of collaborating with primary care physicians and cardiologists.”

To conduct their study, Mak, Atkins and colleagues analyzed data and outcomes for 748 NSCLC patients treated with thoracic radiotherapy at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Milford Regional Medical Center. Therefore After treatment; a total of 77 patients (10.3%) experienced a major adverse cardiac event; including heart attack and heart failure.