Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome characterized by a progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass associated with significant functional impairment. In addition to a loss of skeletal muscle mass and function, many patients with cancer cachexia also experience cardiac atrophy, remodeling, and dysfunction, which in the field of cancer cachexia is described as cardiac cachexia. The cardiac alterations may be due to underlying heart disease, the cancer itself, or problems initiated by the cancer treatment and, unfortunately, remains largely underappreciated by clinicians and basic scientists. Despite recent major advances in the treatment of cancer, little progress has been made in the treatment of cardiac cachexia in cancer, and much of this is due to lack of information regarding the mechanisms. This review focuses on the cardiac atrophy associated with cancer cachexia, describing some of the known mechanisms and discussing the current and future therapeutic strategies to treat this condition. Above all else, improved awareness of the condition and an increased focus on identification of mechanisms and therapeutic targets will facilitate the eventual development of an effective treatment for cardiac atrophy in cancer cachexia.
Keywords: cancer cachexia; cardiac atrophy; cardiac cachexia; cardiac dysfunction; cardiomyopathy.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.