Doxorubicin treatments induce significant changes on the cardiac autonomic nervous system in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia long-term survivors

Maxime Caru, Denis Corbin, Delphine Périé, Valérie Lemay, Jacques Delfrate, Simon Drouin, Laurence Bertout, Maja Krajinovic, Caroline Laverdière, Gregor Andelfinger, Daniel Sinnett, Daniel Curnier
Clinical Research in Cardiology: Official Journal of the German Cardiac Society 2019, 108 (9): 1000-1008

AIMS: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is one of the leading malignancies in children worldwide. The cardiotoxicity of anti-cancer treatments leads to a dysfunction of the cardiac autonomic nervous system. Protection strategies, with dexrazoxane treatments, were used to counter these adverse effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the treatments on the cardiac autonomic nervous system.

METHODS AND RESULTS: A total of 203 cALL survivors were included in our analyses and were classified into 3 categories based on the prognostic risk group: standard risk, high risk with and without dexrazoxane. A 24-h Holter monitoring was performed to study the cardiac autonomic nervous system. The frequency domain heart rate variability (HRV) was used to validate the cardiac autonomic nervous system modifications. Other analyses were performed using linear HRV indexes in the time domain and non-linear indexes. A frequency domain HRV parameters analysis revealed significant differences on an overall time-period of 24 h. A repeated measures ANOVA indicated a group-effect for the low frequency (p = 0.029), high frequency (p = 0.03) and LF/HF ratio (p = 0.029). Significant differences in the time domain and in the non-linear power spectral density HRV parameters were also observed.

CONCLUSION: Anti-cancer treatments induced significant changes in the cardiac autonomic nervous system. The HRV was sensitive enough to detect cardiac autonomic nervous system alterations depending on the cALL risk category. Protection strategies (i.e., dexrazoxane treatments), which were used to counter the adverse effects of doxorubicin, could prevent changes observed in the cardiac autonomic nervous system.

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