Anthracycline associated cardiotoxicity in a subSaharan African population - tertiary care experience

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa); Brain and Mind Institute


Background Anthracyclines are associated with irreversible cardiotoxicity, with changes in echocardiographic parameters preceding clinically manifest cardiac dysfunction. We sought to evaluate the incidence of early cardiac dysfunction post anthracyclines, and associated clinical, echocardiographic and treatment parameters in a sub-Saharan African population.

Methods Cancer patients aged ≥18years at anthracycline initiation with archived baseline echocardiograms, underwent repeat echocardiographic assessment. Cases (with cardiac dysfunction) had (1) >15% relative decline from baseline in global longitudinal strain (GLS), or (2) a decline in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) from baseline to <53% with either (i) symptoms (assessed by the Duke Activity Status Index at follow-up echocardiogram) and LVEF decline by >5 to ≤10%, or (ii) LVEF decline >10% regardless of symptoms. Comparisons in clinical, echocardiographic and treatment parameters were made with controls (no cardiac dysfunction).

Results Among 141 patients (mean age, 47.7years ± 11.2, Africans 95%, females 85.1%, breast cancer 82%), 39 (27.7%) had cardiac dysfunciton at a mean inter-echocardiogram interval of 14.9months ± 14.3, mean cumulative anthracycline dose of 244.7mg/m 2 ± 72.2, and mean DASI score was 50.0 ± 13.3. Mean cardiotoxic doxorubicin equivalence dose was 236.7mg/m 2 ± 57.4 for cases and 217.3 ± 61.9 for controls [p = 0.033, OR = 1.00 (95% CI: 0.99 - 1.01)]. The assessed clinical, echocardiographic and treatment parameters were not associated with cardiac dysfunction. Conclusion Incidence of early cardiac dysfunction after standard dose anthracyclines in an adult SubSaharan population is 27.7% at a mean follow-up of 14.9 months post anthracycline. Routine pre- and post-exposure cardiac assessment should be considered.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Research Square