But possible links to cardiovascular risk may not make it a long-term strategy
Celebrex shows potential in preventing some skin cancers, but one expert was quick to note that the drug has been linked in some studies to an increase in the risk for cardiovascular problems. So it isn't yet clear that Celebrex (celecoxib) is an ideal choice to prevent cancers that could be treated by other means.
"We have a lot of different treatments for non-melanoma skin cancers," noted Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "I would want more information regarding the mechanism of action of Celebrex, because of the other risks," she said.
The Food and Drug Administration stopped the study early, however, when reports emerged that NSAIDs might increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
In an editorial, Drs. Frank Meyskens Jr. and Christine McLaren, both of the University of California, Irvine, said that the finding that Celebrex helped reduce cancers but not precancerous lesions suggests that different mechanisms may be at work during different stages of tumor development.
Any cancer drug can cause potential heart damage, even death, and many doctors do not adequately monitor their patients or manage their care to minimize the health risk, according to a study by M. D. Anderson cardiologists.
Patients and doctors may not be aware of the spectrum of heart problems that can arise from cancer treatment, or know that many of these problems can be managed.
The study, published an issue of the journal Circulation, is the first large-scale review that details. Conducted with nine other M. D. Anderson cardiologists, the study reviews research on the cardiotoxicity of 29 anti-cancer drugs as well as 30 years of experience at M. D. Anderson.
Cardiotoxicity can occur in any patient. Generally speaking, patients most at risk are elderly and have other illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Heart problems can occur during treatment or months and even years after treatment.
Possible solutions include, avoiding certain drugs, lowering drug dosages, administering drugs slower and over a longer period of time, monitoring cardiac health more stringently, avoiding giving some drugs simultaneously, treating cardiac risk factors, use of an echocardiogram during and after cancer treatment, and treating patients with heart failure drugs.
The Anderson researchers found a profile of cardiotoxicity for the most often used anticancer drugs, but it is important to know that every patient has different risk factors that will determine how their hearts handle the treatment. Monitoring and management is key to surviving cancer with a good and lasting heart.
Gregory D. Pawelski
Last edited by gdpawel : 12-01-2010 at 09:54 AM.