Chemotherapy-related cardiac dysfunction: grey area in type I and type II classification

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Purpose of review

The main aim of this review is to address and challenge an old nomenclature of reversible versus irreversible chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy.

Recent findings

Chemotherapy-related cardiac dysfunction (CRCD) has been often characterized as type I or type II. Type I CRCD (e.g., anthracycline) represents a group of chemotherapeutic agents that has often been correlated with irreversible cardiac dysfunction. Conversely, type II CRCD (e.g., trastuzumab) represents a group of anticancer agents that has been considered as reversible. Recent evidence suggests that this nomenclature may not hold true, thus affecting clinical prognosis as well as timely management. It is prudent to address this concern so that physicians are armed with appropriate information, thus providing our oncological patients with informed care. The purpose is to highlight the grey area in this dichotomous classification.


Type I CRCD can be reversible if cardioprotective medications are administered in a timely manner. Conversely, a small proportion of type II CRCD may develop irreversible dysfunction and therefore, will require a long-term follow-up. Therefore, every case should be dealt on an individual basis and an appropriate prognosis should be given to patients based on the clinical evidence on hand.

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