Damage to the heart is one of the most worrisome long-term side effects of high-dose chemotherapy, say specialists. Hence they feel the need to identify biochemical markers that might indicate which patients are at greatest risk and how severe their heart disease might be.
Troponin I is a protein present only in heart cells. TNI blood concentration is a well-established marker of heart muscle injury that is used to diagnose and treat heart attacks and other coronary problems. Researchers conducted a study to see if TNI could also indicate heart problems in cancer patients.
The study included 703 cancer patients. The participants each gave blood after high-dose chemotherapy to check their TNI concentration and one month later. Each patient was labeled TNI positive or TNI negative based on his or her TNI level.After three years, researchers say only 1 percent of those who were TNI negative had a heart complication. However, 37 percent of the patients who were TNI positive immediately after chemotherapy and 84 percent among those who remained positive a month later had a cardiac event.
Researchers say they feel the results of this study support the rationale and need for doctors to use this marker to guide them in their cardiac evaluations and treatments of high-dose chemotherapy patients.