Background: Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PL-DOX) has been shown in preclinical models to induce less cardiotoxicity than non-liposomal doxorubicin. Endomyocardial biopsy is a highly sensitive and specific method for detecting anthracycline-induced cardiac damage.
Patients and methods: Myocardial tissue from ten KS patients who had received cumulative PL-DOX (20 mg/m2/biweekly) of 440-840 mg/m2 was evaluated for evidence of anthracycline-induced cardiac damage. Controls were assembled from patients who had received cumulative doxorubicin doses of 174-671 mg/m2 in two earlier cardiac biopsy protocols. Two control groups were selected on the basis of both cumulative (+/- 10 mg/m2) and peak doxorubicin dose (60 or 20 mg/m2, control group 1), or peak dose alone (20 mg/m2, control group 2).
Results: PL-DOX patients had significantly lower biopsy scores compared with those of doxorubicin controls despite higher cumulative doses of anthracycline. The median biopsy scores for the PL-DOX and doxorubicin groups, respectively, were 0.3 vs. 3.0 (P = 0.002, Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel row mean difference test) for group 1 and 1.25 for group 2 (P < 0.001, Wilcoxon rank-sum test).
Conclusions: Less severe cardiac changes were seen in patients given PL-DOX relative to historical control patients given comparable cumulative doses of doxorubicin.