February 27, 2018 – Avoiding Heart Risk


Anchor lead: Can the heart risk of some breast cancer treatments be avoided? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Radiation to the left side of the chest and some chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer can result in increased risk for heart disease, the American Heart Association warns. But what are the options? Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Park: Understanding who’s at the greatest risk, trying to develop biomarkers for is this patient actually going to have an untoward side effect or toxicity or outcome, either in the heart world or in the breast world, the whole concept of precision medicine really rests on this. What is it about our DNA, our inherent biology that could hopefully predict that this a patient who should or should not get a given therapy because it’s going to have an untoward effect on her breast cancer versus her cardiovascular disease. But I do see that as the future so we can really try to individualize therapies for patients based on genetic and other factors.   :33

Park notes that new and more specific treatments are also under development that should also help reduce risk. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.