Cardio-oncology: the new frontier of clinical and preventive cardiology
Even if cancer and cardiovascular diseases are considered two distinct diseases, an intricate interconnection between these conditions has been established. Increased risk of malignancy has been identified in patients with cardiovascular disease, as well as a greater propensity to the development of cardiovascular diseases has been observed in patients with cancer. The development of cardiotoxicity following exposure to certain anticancer drugs only partially explains this relationship. Shared risk factors and common pathogenic mechanisms suggest the existence of a common biology and a complex interplay between these two conditions. Due to improving longevity and therapeutic advances, the number of patients affected or potentially at risk of developing these two diseases is constantly increasing and currently, several drugs against cancer from anthracyclines to checkpoint inhibitors, can also cause a wide range of unexpected cardiovascular side effects. Management of these issues in clinical practice is an emerging challenge for cardiologists and oncologists, and led to the development of a new dedicated discipline called cardio-oncology. Surveillance and prevention strategies as well as interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk and prevent cardiotoxicities are the primary objectives of cardio-oncology. In this review, we explore the etiopathogenesis common to cardiovascular disease and cancer and the complex interplay between them. We also report the main characteristics of the drugs responsible for cardiotoxicity, highlighting the available strategies for optimal patient management based on a multidisciplinary approach in the cardio-oncology setting.
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