Background: Radiotherapy-associated cardiac toxicity studies in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have been limited by small sample size and nonvalidated cardiac endpoints.
Objectives: The purpose of this analysis was to ascertain whether cardiac radiation dose is a predictor of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) and all-cause mortality (ACM).
Methods: This retrospective analysis included 748 consecutive locally advanced NSCLC patients treated with thoracic radiotherapy. Fine and Gray and Cox regressions were used to identify predictors for MACE and ACM, adjusting for lung cancer and cardiovascular prognostic factors, including pre-existing coronary heart disease (CHD).
Results: After a median follow-up of 20.4 months, 77 patients developed ≥1 MACE (2-year cumulative incidence, 5.8%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.3% to 7.7%), and 533 died. Mean radiation dose delivered to the heart (mean heart dose) was associated with a significantly increased risk of MACE (adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 1.05/Gy; 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.08/Gy; p < 0.001) and ACM (adjusted HR: 1.02/Gy; 95% CI: 1.00 to 1.03/Gy; p = 0.007). Mean heart dose (≥10 Gy vs. <10 Gy) was associated with a significantly increased risk of ACM in CHD-negative patients (178 vs. 118 deaths; HR: 1.34; 95% CI: 1.06 to 1.69; p = 0.014) with 2-year estimates of 52.2% (95% CI: 46.1% to 58.5%) versus 40.0% (95% CI: 33.5% to 47.4%); but not among CHD-positive patients (112 vs. 82 deaths; HR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.70 to 1.25; p = 0.66) with 2-year estimates of 54.6% (95% CI: 46.8% to 62.7%) versus 50.8% (95% CI: 41.5% to 60.9%), respectively (p for interaction = 0.028).
Conclusions: Despite the competing risk of cancer-specific death in locally advanced NSCLC patients, cardiac radiation dose exposure is a modifiable cardiac risk factor for MACE and ACM, supporting the need for early recognition and treatment of cardiovascular events and more stringent avoidance of high cardiac radiotherapy dose.
Keywords: NSCLC; cardiac toxicity; cardiotoxicity; non–small cell lung cancer; radiotherapy.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.