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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 57

of 'Fluoropyrimidine-associated cardiotoxicity: Incidence, clinical manifestations, mechanisms, and management'

Cardiotoxicity of 5-fluorouracil in combination with folinic acid in patients with gastrointestinal cancer.
Schöber C, Papageorgiou E, Harstrick A, Bokemeyer C, Mügge A, Stahl M, Wilke H, Poliwoda H, Hiddemann W, Köhne-Wömpner CH
Cancer. 1993;72(7):2242.
BACKGROUND: Cardiotoxicity related to the widely used cytotoxic compound 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is rare compared with the frequency observed with the use of anthracyclines. More effective protocols incorporating active biomodulatory compounds like folinic acid (FA) or combination chemotherapy change type and severity of toxicity as well. The objective of the current study was to assess cardiotoxicity of the combination 5-FU and folinic acid.
METHODS: The authors' multicenter experience with 390 patients treated for advanced gastrointestinal cancer with intermediate-dose folinic acid and 5-FU was reviewed.
RESULTS: The overall risk of cardiotoxicity was 3%, which is not significantly higher than that reported with 5-FU alone. Eight of 53 patients with a history of cardiac disease reported cardiac symptoms (15.1%), compared with 5 of 337 patients (1.5%) with a no history of cardiac disease. Median time to symptoms was 3 days (range, 2-6). Nine patients had symptoms resembling myocardial ischemia, one patient died due to assumed myocardial infarction related closely to fluorouracil treatment, four patients had supraventricular arrhythmia, and one patient had congestive heart failure. A history of cardiac disease was the only risk factor associated with cardiotoxicity. Relapses were frequent on reinstitution of therapy despite cardiac symptoms in the preceding cycle. Therapeutically or prophylactically administered nitrates had no significant effect.
CONCLUSION: Physicians should be aware of the cardiotoxic properties of active fluorouracil treatment. The combination of 5-FU and leucovorin does not differ from single-agent therapy in frequency or type of cardiotoxicity. Close monitoring of patients is mandatory, especially for those patients at high risk for cardiac side effects. Treatment should be discontinued if coronary symptoms develop, because neither effective treatment nor prophylaxis exists for such symptoms.
Department of Hematology/Oncology, University Medical School, Hannover, Germany.