Growing evidence highlight cancer and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) share common risk factors, including genetic ones, and underlying pathogenesis. Such paradigm has significant implications for cancer survivors, an exponential growing cohort of patients (Pts), due to notable improvements in survival achieved with new oncological treatments. However, many new agents of targeted- and immuno-therapy can cause cardiac damage, mainly for vascular involvement, a pathophysiological mechanism different from classic chemotherapeutic agents. We present the case of left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) in a man with metastatic papillary renal cell carcinoma (PRCC) previously exposed to anthracyclines for former peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL). He came to our attention for cardiological assessment before starting immunotherapy (Nivolumab), due to the failure of Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKIs) (Pazopanib) treatment.
A 74-year-old Pt with hypertension, severe renal dysfunction, dyslipidemia, and exertional dyspnea (NYHA II) presented at transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) a normal size chambers with mild concentric hypertrophy and a clinically stable moderate LVSD (LVEF 35-40%) at periodic evaluation. Pt was also performing his radiological follow-up for the estimation of metastases with CT, twice a year since 2016. A retrospective review of these non-contrast and non-ECG-gated CT highlighted an extensive increase in coronary artery calcifications during the last four years, started with the beginning of TKIs therapy. In 2018 only mild LAD calcification was detectable (Figure 1), while in 2022 a severe three-vessel coronary atherosclerosis was present (Figure 3).
After multi-disciplinary discussion, an aggressive correction of multiple cardiovascular risk factors (starting Rosuvastatin and adjusting Bisoprolol) was performed and immunotherapy started without any adverse event.
Non-ECG-gated CT routinely performed for monitoring the state of the oncological disease is a useful tool for the evaluation of coronary artery calcific burden and accelerated atherosclerosis. It provides additional information beyond the traditional evaluation of CV risk and must be integrated with clinical and laboratory data.