Objectives: To assess the cardioprotective efficiency of an antioxidant regimen (vitamins E, C and N-acetylcysteine) in patients receiving high dose chemo- and/or radiotherapy for malignant disease.
Methods: Prospective, placebo controlled, randomized and double blinded pilot study involving 13 patients receiving chemotherapy and 12 patients receiving radiotherapy.
Results: In patients receiving antioxidants, left ventricular ejection fraction did not change (63 +/- 4% to 63 +/- 4%). In the placebo group, ejection fraction changed from 67 +/- 6% to 61 +/- 4% (p = 0.03). No patient in the antioxidant group and 6/13 (46%) patients in the placebo group showed a fall of > 10% in the left ventricular ejection fraction. In the chemotherapy group, the left ventricular ejection fraction changed from 62% (+/- 2) to 63% (+/- 2) in the patients treated with antioxidants (ns) and from 63% (+/- 5) to 61% (+/- 5) in patients treated with placebo (ns). No patient showed a significant fall in ejection fraction in the antioxidant group, whereas 2/7 (29%) in the placebo group showed a reduction > or = 10%. In the radiotherapy group, left ventricular ejection fraction did not change ¿64% (+/- 6) to 64% (+/- 5)¿ in patients treated with antioxidants (ns) and changed from 70% (+/- 8) to 60% (+/- 4) in patients treated with placebo (p = 0.008). No patient in the antioxidant group, but 4/6 (66%) patients in the placebo group showed a fall of > or = 10% in ejection fraction.
Conclusion: The small number of patients in the study precludes a definitive statement. The preliminary results however suggest efficient cardioprotection by this nontoxic and inexpensive antioxidant combination, so larger studies are warranted for confirmation.