Understanding cardiovascular injury after treatment for cancer: an overview of current uses and future directions of cardiovascular magnetic resonance

J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2013 Jul 31;15(1):66. doi: 10.1186/1532-429X-15-66.


While cancer-free survival has improved over the past 20 years for many individuals with prostate, renal, breast, and hematologic malignancies, the increasingly recognized prevalence of cardiovascular (CV) events in cancer survivors has been an unintended consequence of many of the therapies that have improved these survival rates. The increase in CV events threatens to offset the improvement in cancer related survival. As a result, there is an emerging need to develop methods to identify those individuals treated for cancer at increased risk of cardiovascular events. With its inherent ability to characterize myocardial tissue and identify both cardiac and vascular dysfunction, cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has the potential to identify both subclinical and early clinical CV injury before the development of an overt catastrophic event such as a myocardial infarction, stroke, or premature cardiac death. Early identification provides an opportunity for the implementation of primary prevention strategies to prevent such events, thereby improving overall cancer survivorship and quality of life. This article reviews the etiology of CV events associated with cancer therapy and the unique potential of CMR to provide early diagnosis of subclinical CV injury related to the administration of these therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects*
  • Cardiovascular System / pathology
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Survivors


  • Antineoplastic Agents