Exercise as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for the prevention of cardiovascular dysfunction in breast cancer patients.

Erin J Howden; Ashley Bigaran; Rhys Beaudry; Steve Fraser; Steve Selig; Steve Foulkes; Yoland Antill; Sophie Nightingale; Sherene Loi; Mark J Haykowsky; André La Gerche
Anthracycline chemotherapy may be associated with decreased cardiac function and functional capacity measured as the peak oxygen uptake during exercise ( peak). We sought to determine (a) whether a structured exercise training program would attenuate reductions in peak and (b) whether exercise cardiac imaging is a more sensitive marker of cardiac injury than the current standard of care resting left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF).Twenty-eight patients with early stage breast cancer undergoing anthracycline chemotherapy were able to choose between exercise training (mean ± SD age 47 ± 9 years, n = 14) or usual care (mean ± SD age 53 ± 9 years, n = 14). Measurements performed before and after anthracycline chemotherapy included cardiopulmonary exercise testing to determine peak and functional disability ( peak < 18 ml/min/kg), resting echocardiography (LVEF and global longitudinal strain), cardiac biomarkers (troponin and B-type natriuretic peptide) and exercise cardiac magnetic resonance imaging to determine stroke volume and peak cardiac output. The exercise training group completed 2 × 60 minute supervised exercise sessions per week.Decreases in peak during chemotherapy were attenuated with exercise training (15 vs. 4% reduction, P = 0.010) and fewer participants in the exercise training group met the functional disability criteria after anthracycline chemotherapy compared with those in the usual care group (7 vs. 50%, P = 0.01). Compared with the baseline, the peak exercise heart rate was higher and the stroke volume was lower after chemotherapy ( P = 0.003 and P = 0.06, respectively). There was a reduction in resting LVEF (from 63 ± 5 to 60 ± 5%, P = 0.002) and an increase in troponin (from 2.9 ± 1.3 to 28.5 ± 22.4 ng/mL, P < 0.0001), but no difference was observed between the usual care and exercise training group. The baseline peak cardiac output was the strongest predictor of functional capacity after anthracycline chemotherapy in a model containing age and resting cardiac function (LVEF and global longitudinal strain).The peak exercise cardiac output can identify patients at risk of chemotherapy-induced functional disability, whereas current clinical standards are unhelpful. Functional disability can be prevented with exercise training.
ISSN 2047-4881
Pages 305-315
Volume 26
Type Journal Article
Published 01 Feb 2019
DOI 10.1177/2047487318811181