The use of biomarkers in detecting subclinical cardiotoxicity in doxorubicin-based treatment for paediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

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The international standard protocol for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the most common haemato-oncological pathology at paediatric age, uses anthracyclines as antitumor agents, potentially associated with early or late onset cardiac damage. Currently, echocardiography is the gold standard in the diagnosis of cardiotoxicity, but several biomarkers are evaluated as a possible replacement, pending more extensive clinical studies. We started a prospective study in order to determine the role of two biomarkers, troponin and heart-type fatty acid binding protein, in the evaluation of cardiotoxicity in children over one year of age, diagnosed with ALL. Between February 2015 and April 2016, 20 patients were enrolled and monitored at diagnosis, during chemotherapy and four months after the end of reinduction, through cardiac evaluation and dosing of those two markers in five different points of the treatment protocol. During the first year of follow-up, the patients did not develop clinical signs of cardiac damage, but the study showed a slight increase in troponin levels during chemotherapy, with the return to baseline value after treatment cessation, and also a correlation with the total dose of anthracyclines given to the patient. On the other hand, the second biomarker, heart-type fatty acid binding protein, did not seem to be useful in detecting subclinical cardiac damage in these patients.

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