New study finds breast cancer medicine boosts risk of heart disease
Aug 10, 2011
A new study found that the drug that helps treat breast cancer, Herceptin, can increase the risk of heart disease in elderly patients.
The scientists analyzed the records of 45 women who were over 70 years old, and discovered that those who were given Herceptin - also known as Trastuzumab - more than 27 percent developed heart disease caused by the drug.
"Trastuzumab is generally well-tolerated and, although there are some concerns about it causing heart problems, until now few risk factors have been identified among patients in clinical trials, most of whom are usually younger than 70 years and have good general health," said Dr. Cesar Serrano, the author of the study. "Our study has demonstrated a significantly increased incidence of cardiac events among patients aged 70 and over with cardiovascular risk factors such as a history of cardiac disease and diabetes."
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during her lifetime. The disease is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, surpassed by only lung cancer.