No Increased Risk of Fatal CV Events for Breast Cancer Patients on Newer Hormone Therapy

Excerpt:

“In a new study from Kaiser Permanente, researchers found the use of aromatase inhibitors, hormone-therapy drugs used to treat patients with breast cancer, was not associated with an increased risk of fatal cardiovascular events, including heart attacks or stroke, compared with tamoxifen, another commonly prescribed anti-cancer drug that works on hormones and which has been associated with a serious risk of stroke.

“While women taking aromatose inhibitors did not have an increased risk of death from heart attacks or stroke, the study, published today in JAMA Oncology, found that those who only used aromatase inhibitors or used the drugs after tamoxifen treatment had a 26 to 29 percent higher risk of less serious cardiovascular events, such as abnormal heart beat and pericarditis (a swelling and irritation of the thin membrane surrounding the heart), compared with those who only used tamoxifen.”

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Androgen Deprivation Therapy Associated with Increased Risk for Fatal Heart Attack

“Long term follow up indicates that men with comorbidity, predominately a prior heart attack, who received androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) died earlier, due to a fatal heart attack.

“Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and radiation therapy (RT) is known to prolong survival in men with unfavorable-risk prostate cancer and is considered a standard of care. However, in 2008, the FDA implemented a black box warning about ADT use for prostate cancer due to evidence that suggested an increased risk in non-fatal cardiovascular events. The association of ADT use and fatal heart attacks has remained uncertain until now. Specifically, long term follow up of a randomized clinical trial that compared ADT and radiation therapy (RT) to RT alone finds that men with significant comorbidity; most commonly prior heart attack, who received ADT died earlier, due to a fatal heart attack, compared to men who did not receive ADT.”


Prostate Cancer Medications Linked with Increased Risk of Heart-Related Deaths in Men with Cardiovascular Problems

“A new study has found that certain prostate cancer medications are linked with an increased risk of dying from heart-related causes in men with congestive heart failure or prior heart attacks. Published in BJU International, the findings will help doctors and patients weigh the benefits and risks of the drugs.

“Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which reduces levels of male hormones in the body to prevent them from stimulating cancer cells, is a mainstay of treatment for prostate cancer. Despite its anticancer effects, ADT has been associated with heart problems, including increased risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and sudden cardiac death. To investigate this potential link thoroughly, Paul Nguyen, MD, of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston, along with David Ziehr of Harvard Medical School and their colleagues, analyzed information on 5,077 men with prostate cancer who were treated between 1997 and 2006. Thirty percent of these men received ADT, while the others did not.

“After a median follow-up of 4.8 years, no association was detected between ADT and heart-related deaths in men with no cardiac risk factors (1.08 percent at five years for ADT versus 1.27 percent at five years for no ADT) or in men with diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol (2.09 percent vs 1.97 percent). However, ADT was associated with a 3.3-times increased risk of heart-related deaths, in men with congestive heart failure or prior heart attacks. In this subgroup, heart-related deaths occurred in 7.01 percent of men receiving ADT versus 2.01 percent of men not receiving after five years. This suggests that administering the therapy to 20 men in this potentially vulnerable subgroup could result in one cardiac death.

” ‘While androgen deprivation therapy can be a lifesaving drug for men with prostate cancer and significantly increase the cure rates when used with radiation for aggressive disease, this study also raises the possibility that a small subgroup of men who have significant heart disease could experience increased cardiac death on ADT,’ said Dr. Nguyen. He noted that because the study was retrospective, it must be carefully weighed against larger controlled trials that have demonstrated the benefits of ADT. ‘I would still say that for men with significant heart problems, we should try to avoid ADT when it is not necessary—such as for men with low-risk disease or men receiving ADT only to shrink the prostate prior to radiation. However, for men with high-risk disease, in whom the prostate-cancer benefits of ADT likely outweigh any potential cardiac harms, ADT should be given even if they have heart problems, but the patient should be followed closely by a cardiologist to ensure that he is being carefully watched and optimized from a cardiac perspective.’ “