Longitudinal Assessment of Concurrent Changes in Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction and Left Ventricular Myocardial Tissue Characteristics After Administration of Cardiotoxic Chemotherapies Using T1-Weighted and T2-Weighted Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance

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Background—In a murine anthracycline-related cardiotoxicity model, increases in cardiovascular magnetic resonance myocardial contrast-enhanced T1-weighted signal intensity are associated with myocellular injury and decreases with left ventricular ejection fraction. We sought to determine whether T1- and T2-weighted measures of signal intensity associate with decreases in left ventricular ejection fraction in human subjects receiving potentially cardiotoxic chemotherapy.Methods and Results—In 65 individuals with breast cancer (n=51) or a hematologic malignancy (n=14), we measured left ventricular volumes, ejection fraction, and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted and T2-weighted signal intensity before and 3 months after initiating potentially cardiotoxic chemotherapy using blinded, unpaired analysis of cardiovascular magnetic resonance images. Participants were aged 51±12 years, of whom 55% received an anthracycline, 38% received a monoclonal antibody, and 6% received an antimicrotubule agent. Overall, left ventricular ejection fraction decreased from 57±6% to 54±7% (P<0.001) because of an increase in end-systolic volume (P<0.05). T1-weighted signal intensities also increased from 14.1±5.1 to 15.9±6.8 (P<0.05), with baseline values trending higher among individuals who received chemotherapy before study enrollment (P=0.06). Changes in T1-weighted signal intensity did not differ within the 17 LV myocardial segments (P=0.97). Myocardial edema quantified from T2-weighted images did not change significantly after 3 months (P=0.70).Conclusions—Concordant with previous animal studies, cardiovascular magnetic resonance measures of contrast-enhanced T1-weighted signal intensity occur commensurate with small but significant left ventricular ejection fraction declines 3 months after the receipt of potentially cardiotoxic chemotherapy. These data indicate that changes in T1-weighted signal intensity may serve as an early marker of subclinical injury related to the administration of potentially cardiotoxic chemotherapy in human subjects.

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