Reversible cardiomyopathy caused by administration of interferon alpha

Nat Clin Pract Cardiovasc Med. 2005 Jan;2(1):53-7. doi: 10.1038/ncpcardio0069.


Background: A 56-year-old man with normal cardiac function received treatment with interferon alpha-2b for malignant melanoma. Eight months after the initiation of therapy he developed fatigue and dyspnea on exertion. Two months later, he was admitted to hospital with ORTHOPNEA, worsening dyspnea and cough. Physical examination findings were consistent with congestive heart failure. Laboratory studies were notable for hypothyroidism. Echocardiography revealed severe, global left-ventricular dysfunction.

Investigations: Echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, serum chemistries, coronary angiography, right-heart and left-heart catheterization and endomyocardial biopsy.

Diagnosis: Interferon alpha-2b-induced cardiomyopathy.

Management: Intravenous dobutamine and dopamine for cardiogenic shock and discontinuation of interferon alpha-2b.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Cardiomyopathies / chemically induced*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Heart Failure / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocarditis / chemically induced
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / chemically induced


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins