The role of serum N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic factor as a predictive marker for trastuzumab induced cardiotoxicity

Start Year: 2008
Finish Year: 2010
Chief Investigator: Dr Jane Beith
Grant Type: Novel Concept Awards
Institution: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

reast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Fortunately, with better diagnosis and treatment, the survival is improving. This therefore makes it imperative to ensure women tolerate and are able to receive all therapy that will maximise their survival. The newest drug which doubles disease free survival in women with HER2 positive breast cancer is trastuzumab (Herceptin). This is given to women every three weeks for 12 months. This is tolerated well, except its main side effect is that it can cause the heart not to function properly. Up to 20% of women have to stop this life saving treatment early because of heart damage. Women receiving Herceptin have to under go a scan of their heart every 3 months to monitor for heart damage.

This study will assess whether a simple blood test may pick up the heart dysfunction and firstly save women from undergoing invasive scans. Also the blood test has the potential to pick up heart damage earlier than the scan and this may then lead to a study of using a cardio-protective agent to stop substantial heart damage and enable women to receive a complete course of Herceptin.