Drug Prevents Heart Damage in Pediatric Patients Receiving Chemotherapy

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Drug Prevents Heart Damage in Pediatric Patients Receiving Chemotherapy
Drug Prevents Heart Damage in Pediatric Patients Receiving Chemotherapy

Dexrazoxane has cardioprotective properties that can prevent long-term cardiotoxicity in pediatric patients receiving chemotherapy, according to a review of the literature published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.1

Advances in pediatric cancer care and treatments since the mid 1970s improved the overall 5-year survival rate in this patient population from 58% to 83%. The increased survival, however, comes with increased risk of cardiovascular adverse effects within 30 years of a cancer diagnosis.

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In a review of the medical literature, researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, Michigan, found that risks for hypertension and numerous cardiovascular conditions are higher in children with cancer who were treated with anthracyclines.

Their review also revealed that dexrazoxane, a sterile, pyrogen-free lyophilizate, can prevent many of the cardiotoxic effects of anthracyclines without reducing its anticancer activity.

The drug was first approved for women with breast cancer treated with anthracyclines, then found in subsequent clinical trials to prevent cardiotoxicity in children and adolescents undergoing such treatments. Dexrazoxane is administered at a 10:1 ratio via IV infusion immediately prior to anthracycline administration.

The medical literature illustrate that increased risk of cardiotoxic effects is a part of survivorship for many survivors of childhood cancer. But data also show that chemotherapy-related heart damage can be prevented with use of dexrazoxane immediately before each anthracycline dose. Therefore, these researchers suggest including dexrazoxane in the treatment regimen for pediatric patients with cancer.


1. Hutchins KK, Siddeek H, Franco VI, Lipshultz SE. Prevention of cardiotoxicity among survivors of childhood cancer. Br J Pharmacol. 2016 Sep 4. doi: 10.1111/bcp.13120. [Epub ahead of print]

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