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Title: Cardiotoxicity from cancer therapy : a translational approach to biomarker development
Author: Cove-Smith, Laura Suzanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 3698
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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Background: Heart damage from cancer therapy is a significant problem for survivors. Some of the most effective treatments, such as anthracyclines, cause heart toxicity that can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Cardiotoxicity also contributes to the loss of promising cancer drugs in early development and is notoriously difficult to predict. This translational project employs parallel pre-clinical and clinical studies to explore circulating biomarkers and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) during development of anthracycline associated cardiotoxicity with the aim of finding biomarkers to aid clinical decision making and enable forward/back translation. Methods: Pre-clinical work: A rat model of chronic anthracycline-induced cardiomyopathy was developed involving 8 weekly intravenous boluses of doxorubicin followed by a 4 week ‘washout’ period. A time course assessment of cardiac function using multiple MRI parameters was performed alongside a panel of circulating biomarkers measured prior to dosing. Clinical work: In parallel following ethical approval, 30 cancer patients receiving standard anthracycline chemotherapy were recruited. Serial CMR scans were performed using standard and new exploratory techniques before, during and after treatment and blood was taken to evaluate a similar panel of cardiotoxicity biomarkers using multiplex ELISA at corresponding time points. Results: Pre-clinical results: Systolic and diastolic function declined progressively, culminating in left ventricular dysfunction (LVEF < 50%) by 12 weeks. Myocardial electron microscopy revealed myofibrillar and mitochondrial damage after one dose and gross histopathological damage after 5 doses. Myocardial contrast enhancement and troponin I increased significantly after eight doses and preceded LV dysfunction. Extensive fibrosis was seen 1 month after drug cessation. Clinical results: LVEF declined progressively in all patients and 7 patients (23%) had persistent LV dysfunction 12 months after therapy. Troponin I elevations were seen towards the end of therapy and peak troponin I corresponded with LVEF decline. None of the other circulating biomarkers correlated strongly with outcome. Lower baseline extracellular volume (ECV) was associated with greater LVEF decline but little change in ECV was seen over time. Baseline dyssynchrony was associated with worse outcome and deteriorated with time alongside LVEF decline. Conclusions: Results suggest that troponin I and cardiac MRI are sensitive translational tools in drug induced cardiotoxicity. However, troponin I is a relatively late marker, peaking after substantial myocardial damage, too late to halt or change reatment. The imaging suggests that fibrosis and inflammation cannot be detected within a year of chemotherapy but baseline ECV and strain analysis may have a role in risk stratification.
Supervisor: Linton, Kim ; Radford, John ; Roberts, Ruth ; Mellor, Howard Sponsor: AstraZeneca
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: lymphoma ; breast cancer ; treatment late effects ; anthracycline cardiotoxicity ; anthracycline animal model ; cardiac MRI ; circulating biomarkers ; Troponin T