ECG Scoring for the Evaluation of Therapy-Naïve Cancer Patients to Predict Cardiotoxicity

Objective: To evaluate a new electrocardiographic (ECG) score reflecting domains of electrical and structural alterations in therapy-naïve cancer patients to assess their risk of cardiotoxicity.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 134 therapy-naïve consecutive cancer patients in our two university hospitals concerning four ECG score parameters: Contiguous Q-waves, markers of left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, QRS duration and JTc prolongation. Cardiotoxicity was assessed after a short-term follow-up (up to 12 months).

Results: Of all the patients (n = 25), 19% reached 0 points, 50% (n = 67) reached 1 point, 25% (n = 33) reached 2 points, 5% (n = 7) reached 3 points and 0.7% reached 4 or 5 points (n = 1 respectively). The incidence of cardiotoxicity (n = 28 [21%]) increased with the ECG score, with 0 points at 0%, 1 point 7.5%, 2 points 55%, 3 points 71% and ≥3 points 50%. In the ROC (Receiver operating curves) analysis, the best cut-off for predicting cardiotoxicity was an ECG score of ≥2 points (sensitivity 82%, specificity 82%, AUC 0.84, 95% CI 0.77-0.92, p < 0.0001) which was then defined as a high-risk score. High-risk patients did not differ concerning their age, LV ejection fraction, classical cardiovascular risk factors or cardiac biomarkers compared to those with a low-risk ECG score.

Conclusion: ECG scoring prior to the start of anti-cancer therapies may help to identify therapy-naïve cancer patients at a higher risk for the development of cardiotoxicity.

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