BACKGROUND: Cardiac morbidity is an important late effect in long-term childhood cancer survivors (CCS) treated with cardiotoxic agents or radiotherapy (RT) on the chest. However, there is limited data on the long-term cardiac sequelae in CCS who only received cranial RT. We hypothesized that cranial RT might negatively influence cardiac structure and function.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied 13 CCS [mean age 30.8 (18.1-39.3) years, 7 males] who received RT only on the head for a cranial tumor and 36 age- and sex-matched healthy sibling controls. Echocardiographic follow-up was performed at median 21.7 (12.6-30.8) years after diagnosis. CCS had lower indexed diastolic LV volumes [56.0 (31.4-68.3) vs. 60.5 (41.9-94.3) mL/m(2), p = 0.024]. CCS also had reduced LV systolic and diastolic function, reflected by lower systolic LV myocardial velocities (5.3 ± 0.9 vs. 7.1 ± 1.7 cm/s, p = 0.001) and longitudinal deformation (- 17.3 ± 3.1 vs. - 20.7 ± 2.0%, p < 0.001), as well as lower diastolic LV myocardial velocities (- 10.7 ± 1.7 vs. - 12.2 ± 1.5 cm/s, p = 0.006) and deformation speed (1.1 ± 0.3 vs. 1.5 ± 0.2 1/s, p = 0.005). Additionally, in CCS insulin-like growth factor levels [15.4 (9.2-34.6) vs. 24.4 (14.8-55.5) nmol/L, p = 0.007] were lower.
CONCLUSION: Cranial RT in CCS is associated with smaller cardiac volumes and reduced systolic and diastolic LV function. This off target effect of RT might be related to lower insulin-like growth factor levels.