The purpose of the current study is to investigate whether breast cancer survivors after radiation therapy have a higher burden of coronary artery calcium as a potential surrogate of radiation-induced accelerated coronary artery disease. 333 patients were included. 54 patients underwent chest CT ≥ 6 months after the start of radiation therapy (radiation therapy group), while 279 patients had a CT scan either prior to or without undergoing radiation therapy (RT). Coronary artery calcium was quantified from CT by applying a threshold-based automated algorithm. Mean age at diagnosis was similar (p = 0.771) between RT (57.4 ± 13.1 years) and NoRT (58.0 ± 11.9 years). Median time between radiation therapy and CT was 2 years. The groups showed no significant differences in race, smoking history, cancer laterality, or cancer stage. 39 (72.2%) of RT patients had a coronary artery calcium score of 0, compared to 201 (72.0%) in patients without radiation therapy. Median coronary artery calcium burden for both groups was not significantly different (p = 0.982), nor when comparing patients who underwent left- versus right-sided radiation therapy (p = 0.453). When adjusting for the time between diagnosis and CT, radiation therapy patients had a significantly lower risk of a positive coronary artery calcium score. In conclusion, breast cancer survivors after radiation therapy are not more likely to show coronary artery calcium on follow-up CT imaging. Our results thus do not support radiation-induced accelerated coronary artery disease as an explanation for higher rates of heart disease in this group.
The International Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 24, 2017
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