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Volume 24, Number 6, 2019

Cardiotoxicity of mediastinal radiotherapy

Ivica Ratosa, Maja Ivanetic Pantar


Aim To explore available recent literature related to cardiotoxicity following mediastinal radiation. Background Radiotherapy-related heart injury is well documented, with no apparent safety threshold dose. The number of long-term cancer survivors exposed to mediastinal radiotherapy at some point of their treatment is increasing. Heart dosimetric parameters are of great importance in developing a treatment plan, but few data are available regarding radiosensitivity and dose-volume constraints for specific heart structures. Materials and Methods In October 2018, we identified articles published after 1990 through a PubMed/MEDLINE database search. The authors examined rough search results and manuscripts not relevant for the topic were excluded. We extracted clinical outcomes following mediastinal radiotherapy of childhood cancers, lymphoma, medulloblastoma, thymic cancers and hematopoietic cell transplantation survivors and evaluated treatment planning data, whenever available. Results A total of 1311 manuscripts were identified in our first-round search. Of these manuscripts, only 115 articles, matching our selection criteria, were included. Conclusions Studies uniformly show a linear radiation dose-response relationship between mean absorbed dose to the heart (heart-Dmean) and the risk of dying as a result of cardiac disease, particularly when heart-Dmean exceeds 5 Gy. Limited data are available regarding dose-volume predictors for heart substructures and the risk of subsequent cardiac toxicity. An individual patient’s cardiotoxicity risk can be modified with advanced treatment planning techniques, including deep inspiration breath hold. Proton therapy is currently showing advantages in improving treatment planning parameters when compared to advanced photon techniques in lymphoma, thymic malignancies, malignant mesothelioma and craniospinal irradiation.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2019; 24(6) : 629-643

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