Doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in childhood cancer survivors is a growing problem. The population of patients at risk for cardiovascular disease is steadily increasing, as five-year survival rates for all types of childhood cancers continue to improve. Doxorubicin affects the developing heart differently from the adult heart and in a subset of exposed patients, childhood exposure leads to late, irreversible cardiomyopathy. Notably, the prevalence of late-onset toxicity is increasing in parallel with improved survival. By the year 2020, it is estimated that there will be 500,000 childhood cancer survivors and over 50,000 of them will suffer from doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity. The majority of the research to-date, concentrated on childhood cancer survivors, has focused mostly on clinical outcomes through well-designed epidemiological and retrospective cohort studies. Preclinical studies have elucidated many of the cellular mechanisms that elicit acute toxicity in cardiomyocytes. However, more research is needed in the areas of early- and late-onset cardiotoxicity and more importantly improving the scientific understanding of how other cells present in the cardiac milieu are impacted by doxorubicin exposure. The overall goal of this review is to succinctly summarize the major clinical and preclinical studies focused on doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity. As the prevalence of patients affected by doxorubicin exposure continues to increase, it is imperative that the major gaps in existing research are identified and subsequently utilized to develop appropriate research priorities for the coming years. Well-designed preclinical research models will enhance our understanding of the pathophysiology of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and directly lead to better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)