Asymptomatic systolic dysfunction on contemporary echocardiography in anthracycline-treated long-term childhood cancer survivors: a systematic review

Remy Merkx, Jan M Leerink, Esmée C de Baat, Elizabeth A M Feijen, Wouter E M Kok, Annelies M C Mavinkurve-Groothuis, Jacqueline Loonen, Helena J H van der Pal, Louise Bellersen, Chris L de Korte, Leontien C M Kremer, Elvira C van Dalen, Livia Kapusta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Echocardiographic surveillance for asymptomatic left ventricular systolic dysfunction (ALVSD) is advised in childhood cancer survivors (CCS), because of their risk of heart failure after anthracycline treatment. ALVSD can be assessed with different echocardiographic parameters. We systematically reviewed the prevalence and risk factors of late ALVSD, as defined by contemporary and more traditional echocardiographic parameters. Methods: We searched databases from 2001 to 2020 for studies on ≥ 100 asymptomatic 5-year CCS treated with anthracyclines, with or without radiotherapy involving the heart region. Outcomes of interest were prevalence of ALVSD—measured with volumetric methods (ejection fraction; LVEF), myocardial strain, or linear methods (fractional shortening; FS)—and its risk factors from multivariable analyses. Results: Eleven included studies represented 3840 CCS. All studies had methodological limitations. An LVEF < 50% was observed in three studies in 1–6% of CCS, and reduced global longitudinal strain (GLS) was reported in three studies in 9–30% of CCS, both after a median follow-up of 9 to 23 years. GLS was abnormal in 20–28% of subjects with normal LVEF. Abnormal FS was reported in six studies in 0.3–30% of CCS, defined with various cut-off values (< 25 to < 30%), at a median follow-up of 10 to 18 years. Across echocardiographic parameters, reported risk factors were cumulative anthracycline dose and radiotherapy involving the heart region, with no ‘safe’ dose for ALVSD. Conclusions: GLS identifies higher prevalence of ALVSD in anthracycline-treated CCS, than LVEF. Implications for Cancer Survivors: The diagnostic and prognostic value of GLS should be evaluated within large cohorts. Protocol registration: PROSPERO CRD42019126588
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-352
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of cancer survivorship : research and practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Anthracyclines/adverse effects
  • Cancer Survivors
  • Child
  • Echocardiography
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left/chemically induced


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