The Estimation of Intima-Media Thickness and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Young Survivors of Childhood Cancer

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Abstract

Cancer treatment in childhood is thought to accelerate the development of atherosclerosis, leading to significant cardiovascular complications and, ultimately, increasing cardiovascular mortality in childhood cancer survivors, which explains the need to assess vascular status in this group. The purpose of this paper was to assess early atherosclerotic lesions based on the analysis of intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid artery, as well as to analyze cardiovascular risk factors in young childhood cancer survivors. The analysis of 158 patients aged 6 to29 years, with a history of previous cancer treatment for different childhood malignancies, revealed a statistically significant difference in IMT between them and 66 age-matched healthy controls. The observed higher IMT scores in childhood cancer survivors may be indicative of premature atherosclerosis. The actual scores were 0.056±0.007 versus 0.052±0.003 (P=0.0001) as a mean score for both carotid arteries in the study group and controls, respectively. We did not observe significant differences in IMT between cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy only versus those treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Similar to the general population, childhood cancer survivors are affected by different cardiovascular risk factors. These factors may enhance the direct cardiotoxicity of cancer treatment, leading to symptomatic incidents in further life, which emphasizes the need of early prevention and/or treatment in this subpopulation.

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