Cancer is a disease that has killed millions and cost trillions. It is a tragic disease, and while the treatment used may help fight cancer, potential long-lasting damage is inflicted onto the heart. Chemotherapies are widespread drugs used to treat any and all kinds of cancer. There are many different classes including, but not limited to, the anthracyclines, taxanes, monoclonal antibodies, alkylating agents, tyrosine kinases, and antiestrogens. For patients with breast cancer, there are about 69 different chemotherapies approved for treatment, and they are all from a variety of different classes. However, most of the classes of chemotherapies are associated with some kind of cardiotoxicity. The anthracyclines are associated with Type 1 cardiotoxicity, meaning that the damage induced on the heart is irreversible and often leads to heart failure. The monoclonal antibodies are associated with Type 2 cardiotoxicity, meaning that the damage induced is typically reversible and that it is not dose dependent. This kind of damage is typically repaired upon completion of chemotherapy treatment and possibly going on heart medications. With that being said, depending on the specific chemotherapy used, it can be given in a situation where a type 2 chemotherapy induces type 1 effects, such that a monoclonal antibody is given with or too soon after anthracycline treatment. The goal of this thesis is to examine one of each of the above classes of chemotherapeutic drugs. The mechanism of action and the effects on the heart are discussed in detail.
Semester/Year of Award
Department of Biology
Open Access Thesis
Griffith, Jacey S., "Surviving Cancer is not the end of the story: Effects of Chemotherapy on Heart Function." (2020). Honors Theses. 716.