Upfront dexrazoxane for the reduction of anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity in adults with preexisting cardiomyopathy and cancer: A consecutive case series

Sarju Ganatra, Anju Nohria, Sachin Shah, John D. Groarke, Ajay Sharma, David Venesy, Richard Patten, Krishna Gunturu, Corrine Zarwan, Tomas G. Neilan, Ana Barac, Salim S. Hayek, Sourbha Dani, Shantanu Solanki, Syed Saad Mahmood, Steven E. Lipshultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: Cardiotoxicity associated with anthracycline-based chemotherapies has limited their use in patients with preexisting cardiomyopathy or heart failure. Dexrazoxane protects against the cardiotoxic effects of anthracyclines, but in the USA and some European countries, its use had been restricted to adults with advanced breast cancer receiving a cumulative doxorubicin (an anthracycline) dose > 300 mg/m2. We evaluated the off-label use of dexrazoxane as a cardioprotectant in adult patients with preexisting cardiomyopathy, undergoing anthracycline chemotherapy. Methods: Between July 2015 and June 2017, five consecutive patients, with preexisting, asymptomatic, systolic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction who required anthracycline-based chemotherapy, were concomitantly treated with off-label dexrazoxane, administered 30 min before each anthracycline dose, regardless of cancer type or stage. Demographic, cardiovascular, and cancer-related outcomes were compared to those of three consecutive patients with asymptomatic cardiomyopathy treated earlier at the same hospital without dexrazoxane. Results: Mean age of the five dexrazoxane-treated patients and three patients treated without dexrazoxane was 70.6 and 72.6 years, respectively. All five dexrazoxane-treated patients successfully completed their planned chemotherapy (doxorubicin, 280 to 300 mg/m2). With dexrazoxane therapy, changes in LV systolic function were minimal with mean left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) decreasing from 39% at baseline to 34% after chemotherapy. None of the dexrazoxane-treated patients experienced symptomatic heart failure or elevated biomarkers (cardiac troponin I or brain natriuretic peptide). Of the three patients treated without dexrazoxane, two received doxorubicin (mean dose, 210 mg/m2), and one received daunorubicin (540 mg/m2). Anthracycline therapy resulted in a marked reduction in LVEF from 42.5% at baseline to 18%. All three developed symptomatic heart failure requiring hospitalization and intravenous diuretic therapy. Two of them died from cardiogenic shock and multi-organ failure. Conclusion: The concomitant administration of dexrazoxane in patients with preexisting cardiomyopathy permitted successful delivery of anthracycline-based chemotherapy without cardiac decompensation. Larger prospective trials are warranted to examine the use of dexrazoxane as a cardioprotectant in patients with preexisting cardiomyopathy who require anthracyclines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 29 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthracycline
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cardioprotection
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Dexrazoxane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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