Shining Damaged Hearts : Immunotherapy-Related Cardiotoxicity in the Spotlight of Nuclear Cardiology

The emerging use of immunotherapies in cancer treatment increases the risk of immunotherapy-related cardiotoxicity. In contrast to conventional chemotherapy, these novel therapies have expanded the forms and presentations of cardiovascular damage to a broad spectrum from asymptomatic changes to fulminant short- and long-term complications in terms of cardiomyopathy, arrythmia, and vascular disease. In cancer patients and, particularly, cancer patients undergoing (immune-)therapy, cardio-oncological monitoring is a complex interplay between pretherapeutic risk assessment, identification of impending cardiotoxicity, and post-therapeutic surveillance. For these purposes, the cardio-oncologist can revert to a broad spectrum of nuclear cardiological diagnostic workup. The most promising commonly used nuclear medicine imaging techniques in relation to immunotherapy will be discussed in this review article with a special focus on the continuous development of highly specific molecular markers and steadily improving methods of image generation. The review closes with an outlook on possible new developments of molecular imaging and advanced image evaluation techniques in this exciting and increasingly growing field of immunotherapy-related cardiotoxicity.


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