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New data suggests chemotherapy patients benefit from heart failure treatment

Boca Raton, FL - Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found that cancer patients who develop heart failure as a result of chemotherapy treatment can be effectively treated, with the condition potentially reversed, when standard medicated therapy for heart failure is utilized.

The findings were presented today at the Sixth Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America in Boca Raton by Dr. Jean-Bernard Durand, assistant professor in the Department of Cardiology and director of Cardiomyopathy Service at M. D. Anderson.

The retrospective studies showed that patients treated with ACE-inhibitors and the beta-blocking agent, carvedilol, had significant improvements in two measures of heart failure: ejection fraction and New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class . Previously, many cancer patients endured the invasive insertion of cardiac devices or full heart transplants in an effort to treat heart failure resulting from chemotherapy treatment.

The research has not been traditionally studied in cancer patients, and is believed to be the first to evaluate the treatment of heart failure using standard medication therapy in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

"Until now, heart failure was thought to be irreversible in chemotherapy patients with many cardiologists advising patients who develop the condition to reduce their chemotherapy regimens," say Dr. Durand, lead investigator for the study. "This data suggests that patients can continue their chemotherapy regimens, yet effectively reduce their risk of worsening heart failure and the eventual need for heart transplantation."

Heart failure develops when the heart is weakened and unable to pump blood efficiently through the body. It commonly results from damage to the heart after a heart attack, high blood pressure or diabetes. According to Dr. Durand, however, chemotherapeutic agents -- particularly at high doses -- ma
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Contact: Laura Sussman
lsussman@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
24-Sep-2002


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