Men undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment are more likely to have worse heart muscle disease as compared to women, according to a research.
Cardiomyopathy is an acquired or hereditary disease of the heart muscle, charaterised by breathlessness, swollen legs and feet and a bloated stomach.
The results, presented at the EuroCMR 2017 in Prague, showed that both left and right ventricular ejection fraction was significantly lower in men than women, indicating worse performance of the heart.
Cardiac volumes and mass were significantly larger in men compared to women, indicating more damage to the heart’s structure.
“The results of our study suggest that men developed a more severe form of chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy than women,” said lead author Iwan Harries, from the University of Bristol, in Britain.
“Cancer patients are living longer because of improved treatment but the side effects of treatment include cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,” Harries said.
Previous studies in paediatric populations which found increased risk in females may be explained by the absence of female sex hormones early in life. In adults it may be that female sex hormones are protective.
“Previous lab-based research has shown that female adult rat cardiac muscle cells have a survival advantage over male cells when challenged with oxidative stress-induced cell death, which is one of the proposed mechanisms of chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy,” Harries explained.
For the study, the team included 76 patients (45 women and 31 men) and observed patients that received potentially cardiotoxic chemotherapy, and were referred for CMR scan, which provide information on left and right ventricular function, cardiac volumes, and tissue characteristics.