Increased Risk of Heart Failure Continues Long After Chemo

A new study found breast cancer and lymphoma patients who receive anthracycline chemotherapy are at an increased risk of congestive heart failure (CHF) for two decades after their treatment. Between 1985 and 2010, the study followed 812 patients who received chemotherapy, along with a comparison group of people without a cancer diagnosis. Researchers found that at every point in the 20 years following chemotherapy, patients who received anthracyclines had a higher incidence of CHF compared with people without cancer, MedPage Today reported. One year after treatment, 1.81% of patients given an anthracycline experienced CHF, compared with 0.09% of people without cancer. That difference continued one decade (5.36% vs. 1.74%) and two decades (10.75% vs. 4.98%) following treatment. The risk of CHF did not depend on the dosage. The study found cancer patients who received different treatments and people without cancer had similar CHF incidence. “It is essential that we better understand the mechanism of anthracycline-associated cardiac dysfunction to offer better surveillance and management recommendations,” Michael Fradley, medical director of the Cardio-Oncology Program at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

Cancer Screening Levels Have Yet to Rebound From Pandemic Drop

Breast and lung cancer screening rates have not yet fully rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open. In the pandemic’s early months, many patients avoided screenings as health systems focused on COVID-19 patients, causing numerous early-stage cancers to go undetected, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis reported. Researchers looked at rates of mammography, which screens for breast cancer, and low-dose computed tomography, which screens for lung cancer, among Medicare enrollees between January 2016 and April 2022. The data showed that in the first year of the pandemic from March 2020 to February 2021, mammography rates dropped to 17% below expectations, while lung cancer screening dipped 24% below expectations. Although those numbers started to rebound in the following year, they still did not reach expected levels. Between March 2021 and February 2022, breast cancer screening was 4% below expectations, and lung cancer screening was 14% below expected rates. “Interference with cancer screening by periodic surges in COVID-19 infections is a continuing problem,” the study authors wrote.

FDA Approves Trodelvy to Treat Metastatic Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer

The Federal Drug Administration approved Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy) as a treatment for patients with unresectable advanced or metastatic hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer Feb. 3, OncLive reported. The drug is approved for patients who have already received endocrine therapy and at least two other treatments for metastatic disease. The approval is based on the results of a phase III clinical trial involving 543 patients that compared Trodelvy with physician’s choice of chemotherapy. Patients taking Trodelvy had a longer median overall survival (14.4 months vs. 11.2 months) and progression-free survival (5.5 months vs. 4 months) compared with those undergoing chemotherapy. Trodelvy patients also reported a better quality of life compared with chemotherapy patients. “Nearly all people with this type of breast cancer will eventually develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies and progress on available chemotherapies,” Hope Rugo, the study’s lead investigator and director of breast oncology at the University of California, San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a press release. “This approval is significant for the breast cancer community.” Trodelvy previously was approved for treatment of unresectable advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer in April 2021.