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Study reveals ways to avoid heart damage in women

2023 Aug 30, 13:55, Amsterdam [Netherlands]

Women with breast cancer will be enrolled in a clinical trial to investigate the ability of behavioural and psychological therapy to minimise the cardiac damage caused by anti-cancer medications. The unique CARDIOCARE initiative is being led by a coalition of European partners, including the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

The most recent project updates will be discussed on the ESC TV stage at ESC Congress1, with more information available in the Exchange and Lounge sections.

“Cardiovascular disease is a devastating complication of anti-cancer treatment that affects physical and mental health,” said project coordinator Professor Dimitrios I. Fotiadis of the University of Ioannina, Greece. “CARDIOCARE will provide women over the age of 65 with breast cancer the tools to improve their physical health and to psychologically adapt to the disease.”

Breast cancer is the most common disease in the European Union, accounting for 13.3% of all new cancer cases in 2020. Breast cancer is expected to affect 1 in every 11 women in the EU by the age of 74.

CARDIOCARE, a five-year EU-funded study, promises to drastically change the treatment of older women with breast cancer. The project is bringing together cardiologists, oncologists, psychologists, molecular biologists, bioinformaticians, computer scientists, and biomedical engineers from seven European countries (Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Slovenia, Sweden, the Netherlands, and France) to improve patient monitoring, treatment, and care.

A clinical trial evaluating the impact of behavioural and psychological interventions on quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, and the cardiotoxic effects of breast cancer treatment will be conducted in 750 patients with breast cancer at six clinical centres in Europe.3

All patients in the trial will receive the CARDIOCARE mobile application (app). Participants will be randomly allocated to receive the app incorporating both ePsycHeart and eHealtHeart or to receive the app with ePsycHeart only. ePsycHeart will monitor quality of life, mobility and mental health using a wearable chest band heart rate sensor, smartwatch and questionnaires. eHealtHeart will encourage patients in the intervention group to adopt behaviours including physical activity, healthy diet, games to improve memory and changing the home environment to reduce the risk of falls.

Another major goal of the trial is the early identification of women with breast cancer at the greatest risk of heart and blood vessel damage from anti-cancer treatments. Cutting-edge technologies such as next generation sequencing will be used to pinpoint changes in gut microbe species that signal damage of the heart and blood vessels before symptoms occur. In addition, artificial intelligence will be used to analyse images of the heart to predict the likelihood of heart damage.

Professor Fotiadis said, “CARDIOCARE is on track to improve the physical and mental health of older women with breast cancer by detecting the cardiovascular side effects of anti-cancer treatment early and providing digital tools to help patients improve their mental and physical wellbeing.” 


cancer treatments clinical trials breast cancer anti-cancer therapies common disease breast cancer treatment
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