Purpose of the review: Anthracycline chemotherapy carries a risk of myocardial dysfunction and heart failure even at relatively low doses, and the clinical prediction of cancer treatment-related cardiac dysfunction (CTRCD) is inexact. Careful imaging or biomarker surveillance during chemotherapy can identify CTRCD before the development of heart failure. Currently, this surveillance is performed using ejection fraction (EF). While this is a reliable and reproducible test with three-dimensional techniques, the most widely used imaging technique is two-dimensional echocardiography, for which EF measurements have broad confidence intervals.
Recent findings: The use of global myocardial strain (GLS) provides a more reliable and reproducible means of assessing global cardiac function and shows meaningful changes before a significant change of EF. Observational studies have shown that although absolute measurements of GLS, both at baseline and during therapy, are predictive of CTRCD risk, the most reliable approach is to assess the change of GLS with therapy - a meaningful relative change of 10-15% being significant. A clinical trial comparing GLS to EF surveillance did not show a significant change of EF in the overall study group, but did show that patients managed with a the GLS-guided approach were less likely to develop a meaningful change of cardiac function to an abnormal level. In at-risk patients, there is good evidence for the protective value of neurohormonal antagonists and statins: the use of GLS enables these benefits to be directed to those most likely to benefit, while minimizing their use in the majority of people, who do not need them. Although GLS requires an element of training and efforts to ensure uniformity, it has proven to be a feasible, robust, and reproducible technique, ready for wide adoption.
Keywords: Anthracycline treatment; Cardioprotective medications; Global longitudinal strain.
© 2022. The Author(s).