“Heart medication taken in combination with chemotherapy reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular damage in patients with early-stage breast cancer, according to results from a new landmark clinical trial.
“Existing research has shown some cancer therapies such as Herceptin greatly improve survival rates for early-stage breast cancer, but come with a fivefold risk of heart failure—a devastating condition as life-threatening as the cancer itself.
“A new five-year study, led by researchers at the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Alberta Cancer Foundation, shows that two kinds of heart medications, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, effectively prevent a drop in heart function from cancer treatment.”
The gist: Researchers conducted a clinical trial with volunteer patients to test the effects of a program of aerobic training on cancer patients with heart failure. They found that the aerobics program did not reduce the rate of mortality or hospitalization for patients, but patients who were able to adhere to the program seemed to have better clinical outcomes.
“In a retrospective analysis in the HF-ACTION trial reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Jones et al found that a program of aerobic training did not reduce the rate of all-cause mortality or hospitalization in cancer patients with heart failure. Some evidence suggested that patients who were able to adhere to the program had improved outcomes…
“The study evaluated the primary endpoint of all-cause mortality or hospitalization among 47 patients randomly assigned to aerobic training and 43 to guideline-based usual care in the HF-ACTION trial. Patients had to have medically stable heart failure. The aerobic training program consisted of three supervised 20- to 45-minute sessions at 60% to 70% of heart rate reserve each week for 12 weeks followed by home-based sessions for 4 to 12 months…
“The investigators concluded, ‘In [intention-to-treat] analyses, [aerobic training] did not improve clinical outcomes in patients with cancer who had [heart failure]. Post hoc analyses suggested that patients not capable of adhering to the planned [aerobic training] prescription may be at increased risk of clinical events.’ ”