Can cutaneous telangiectasiae as late normal-tissue injury predict cardiovascular disease in women receiving radiotherapy for breast cancer?
journal contributionposted on 19.04.2010, 14:05 by G. A. Tanteles, J. Whitworth, J. Mills, I. Peat, A. Osman, G. P. McCann, S. Chan, Julian G. Barwell, Christopher J. Talbot, R. P. Symonds
Background: Overall, ~5% of patients show late normal-tissue damage after radiotherapy with a smaller number having a risk of radiation-induced heart disease. Although the data are conflicting, large studies have shown increased risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) for irradiated patients compared with non-irradiated ones, or for those treated to the left breast or chest wall compared with those treated to the right. Cutaneous telangiectasiae as late normal-tissue injury have so far only been regarded as a cosmetic burden. Methods: The relationship between late normal-tissue radiation injury phenotypes in 149 irradiated breast cancer patients and the presence of cardiovascular disease were examined. Results: A statistically significant association between the presence of skin telangiectasiae and the long-term risk of CVD was shown in these patients (P=0.017; Fisher's exact test). Interpretation: This association may represent initial evidence that telangiectasiae can be used as a marker of future radiation-induced cardiac complications. It could also suggest a common biological pathway for the development of both telangiectasiae and CVD on the basis of a genetically predisposed endothelium. To our knowledge this is the first reported study looking at this association.