Strain rate imaging detects early cardiac effects of pegylated liposomal Doxorubicin as adjuvant therapy in elderly patients with breast cancer

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2008 Dec;21(12):1283-9. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2008.10.005.


Objective: Cardiac toxicity remains an important side effect of anthracyclines. New drug formulations (eg, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin [PL-DOX]) seem to be a successful strategy for reducing it. Changes in cardiac function induced by early chemotherapy, however, are subtle and difficult to quantitate by conventional imaging methods. Doppler myocardial imaging-based velocity, strain, and strain rate measurements have been shown to sensitively quantify abnormalities in cardiac function in other settings.

Design: We evaluated the feasibility and sensitivity of strain rate imaging compared with conventional echocardiography in detecting cardiac effects of PL-DOX therapy in elderly patients with cancer. In a pilot study, we examined 16 elderly women (age 69.8 +/- 3.1 years) with breast cancer receiving 6 cycles of PL-DOX. Conventional and Doppler myocardial imaging echocardiography were obtained at baseline and after 3 and 6 cycles of treatment. Segmental peak systolic longitudinal and radial velocity, strain, and strain rate were measured.

Results: Left ventricular dimensions, ejection fraction, and systolic myocardial velocity did not change throughout the follow-up. In contrast, a significant reduction in longitudinal and radial strain and strain rate was found after 6 cycles (longitudinal strain -18.8% +/- 2.8% vs -22.7% +/- 2.8%, P < .001 vs baseline and P = .001 vs after 3 cycles; radial strain 32.3% +/- 8.1% vs 50.1% +/- 11.6%, P < .001 vs baseline). Changes in radial function appeared earlier and were more pronounced than in longitudinal direction.

Conclusion: In contrast with conventional echocardiography and myocardial velocity measurements, myocardial deformation parameters allowed detecting subtle changes in longitudinal and radial left ventricular function after 6 cycles of PL-DOX. We suggest that Doppler-based myocardial deformation imaging should be used for cardiac function monitoring during chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects
  • Doxorubicin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Polyethylene Glycols / adverse effects*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / chemically induced*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • liposomal doxorubicin
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Doxorubicin