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Takotsubo cardiomyopathy in two men receiving bevacizumab for metastatic cancer

Authors Franco TH, Khan A, Joshi V, Thomas B

Published 5 December 2008 Volume 2008:4(6) Pages 1367—1370


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Thérèse H Franco, Ahmed Khan, Vishal Joshi, Beje Thomas

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT, USA

Abstract: Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). It is a novel chemotherapeutic agent currently approved as part of combination chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and breast cancer (Hurwitz et al 2004; Sandler et al 2006; Traina et al 2007). Arterial thrombosis, including cerebral infarction, transient ischemic attacks, myocardial infarction, and angina are common, occurring in 4.4% of patients whose regimen includes bevacizumab (versus 1.9% on regimen without bevacizumab) (Genetech, Inc. 2008). This series will review two cases of patients exposed to bevacizumab who subsequently developed ST elevations on electrocardiogram (ECG) and elevated cardiac biomarkers. Both patients underwent cardiac catheterization, which demonstrated apical ballooning and akinesis in a distribution discordant with the observed (noncritical) atherosclerotic lesions. Both patients had recovery of left ventricular function within 30 days. The clinical presentation, including ECGs and findings on catheterization as well as the rapid recovery of ventricular function, is consistent with the diagnosis of takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy was first described in 1991, but the pathophysiology and exact mechanism of injury remain largely unknown. These two cases are notable for their occurrence in men and the association with treatment of metastatic cancer including bevacizumab.

Keywords: vascular endothelial growth factor, bevacizumab, metastatic cancer, chemotherapy, takotsubo, cardiomyopathy

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