Cardio-oncology issues among pediatric cancer and stem cell transplant survivors

Cardiol Rev. 2014 Nov-Dec;22(6):268-74. doi: 10.1097/CRD.0000000000000030.


Improvements in the survival of children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer have resulted in a growing population of childhood, adolescent and adult cancer and stem cell transplant survivors. Approximately two thirds of these survivors will experience at least 1 late effect of their treatment, and about one third will experience a late effect that is severe or life threatening. Childhood cancer survivors are at high risk for development of severe cardiac disease, particularly after anthracycline and/or radiation exposure. Cardiotoxicity can present as early cardiac dysfunction during or shortly after therapy or as chronic impairment of cardiac function several years after treatment. Attempts to minimize serious adverse effects have included reduction of high-dose chemotherapy, particularly anthracycline dosing to <350 mg/m, use of cardioprotective agents such as dexrazoxane and decreased radiation dosing and radiation fields. There have been no convincing data showing medical interventions that can reliably slow or reverse cardiotoxicity in treated patients, which therefore warrants further studies looking at the use of beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, or newer agents either prior to or following the discovery of heart damage. Emphasis on the prevention of further damage is critical and can be accomplished through aggressive surveillance, including screening for lipid abnormalities, cardiac biomarkers such as troponins and B-type natriuretic peptides, hypertension, diabetes and obesity as well as the use of echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging to identify abnormalities early in their course. Here, we provide an overview of the field of cardio-oncology to stimulate interest among cardiologists.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Echocardiography
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis
  • Heart Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Survivors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiotonic Agents