Cancer Survivorship and Subclinical Myocardial Damage

Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Dec 31;188(12):2188-2195. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwz088.


Cancer survivors might have an excess risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) resulting from toxicities of cancer therapies and a high burden of CVD risk factors. We sought to evaluate the association of cancer survivorship with subclinical myocardial damage, as assessed by elevated high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) test results. We included 3,512 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study who attended visit 5 (2011-2013) and were free of CVD (coronary heart disease, heart failure, or stroke). We used multivariate logistic regression to evaluate the cross-sectional associations of survivorship from any, non-sex-related, and sex-related cancers (e.g., breast, prostate) with elevated hs-cTnT (≥14 ng/L). Of 3,512 participants (mean age, 76 years; 62% women; 21% black), 19% were cancer survivors. Cancer survivors had significantly higher odds of elevated hs-cTnT (OR = 1.26, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.53). Results were similar for survivors of non-sex-related and colorectal cancers, but there was no association between survivorship from breast and prostate cancers and elevated hs-cTnT. Results were similar after additional adjustments for CVD risk factors. Survivors of some cancers might be more likely to have elevated hs-cTnT than persons without prior cancer. The excess burden of subclinical myocardial damage in this population might not be fully explained by traditional CVD risk factors.

Keywords: ARIC; biomarkers; cancer; cardiovascular disease; hs-cTnT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cancer Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiomyopathies / blood
  • Cardiomyopathies / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Troponin T / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • TNNT2 protein, human
  • Troponin T