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Cardiovascular toxicity of multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitors in advanced solid tumors: a population-based observational study

Srikanthan A, Ethier JL, Ocana A, Seruga B, Krzyzanowska MK, Amir E. PLoS One. 2015; 10(3):e0122735. Epub 2015 Mar 27.


Background — Treatment with small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has improved survival in many cancers, yet has been associated with an increased risk of adverse events. Warnings of cardiovascular events are common in drug labels of many TKIs. Despite these warnings, cardiovascular toxicity of patients treated with TKIs remains unclear. Here, the researchers evaluate the cardiovascular outcomes of advanced cancer patients treated with small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Methods — A population based cohort study was undertaken involving adults aged >18 years in Ontario, Canada, diagnosed with any advanced malignancy between 2006 and 2012. Data were extracted from linked administrative governmental databases. Adults with advanced cancer receiving TKIs were identified and followed throughout the time period. The main outcomes of interest were rates of hospitalization for ischemic heart disease (acute myocardial infarction and angina) or cerebrovascular accidents and death.

Results — 1,642 patients with a mean age of 62.5 years were studied; 1046 were treated with erlotinib, 166 with sorafenib and 430 with sunitinib. Over the 380 day median follow-up period (range 6-1,970 days), 1.1% of all patients had ischemic heart events, 0.7% had cerebrovascular accidents and 72.1% died. Rates of cardiovascular events were similar to age and gender-matched individuals without cancer. In a subgroup analysis of treatment patients with a prior history of ischemic heart disease, 3.3% had ischemic heart events while 1.2% had cerebrovascular accidents.

Conclusions — TKIs do not appear to increase the cause-specific hazard of ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular accidents compared to age and gender-matched individuals without advanced cancer.

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Keywords: Cancer Cardiovascular diseases Cerebrovascular disorders

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