Background: Anthracyclines are effective anticancer drugs for childhood cancer with dose-limiting cardiotoxicity. Children who have received anthracyclines thus need periodical cardiac evaluation. The plasma levels of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) have been shown to increase in proportion to severity of cardiac dysfunction. We examined whether plasma levels of ANP and BNP, in addition to echocardiographic evaluation, can be used as specific markers for doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxic effects in children.
Procedure: Consecutively, 34 patients (18 boys and 16 girls) who had previously received doxorubicin-containing chemotherapy were enrolled in this study. Plasma ANP and BNP were assayed simultaneously at the time of first cardiac function evaluation by echocardiography.
Results: Of the 34 patients, 8 (23.5%) had left ventricular dysfunction as assessed by echocardiography. Both ANP and BNP plasma levels in these patients were significantly elevated in comparison with healthy controls (P < 0.01) or patients with normal cardiac function (P < 0.05). It should be also noted that ANP and BNP levels were correlated significantly with cardiac systolic function, but not with diastolic function.
Conclusions: These results suggest that plasma ANP and BNP levels could be markers for doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in children. Measurement of natriuretic peptide levels during treatment may allow earlier-identification of individuals at risk for severe cardiac damage.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.