Abnormal NT-pro-BNP levels in asymptomatic long-term survivors of childhood cancer treated with anthracyclines




Anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity can cause serious health problems for an increasing number of survivors of childhood malignancies. The aims of this study were to document plasma concentrations of cardiac troponin T (cTnT) and NT-pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-pro-BNP) in a large group of asymptomatic long-term survivors of childhood cancer treated with anthracyclines, and to study the relation of the abnormal biomarker levels with different risk factors for anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity and conventional echocardiographic parameters.


One hundred twenty-two asymptomatic survivors of childhood cancer underwent a detailed echocardiography. Blood samples were taken to determine the levels of NT-pro-BNP and cTnT.


None of the survivors had abnormal cTnT levels. Thirteen percent of the survivors (n = 16) had abnormal NT-pro-BNP levels. Abnormal NT-pro-BNP levels were significantly related to cumulative anthracycline dosage (P < 0.003). Eleven of 31 survivors (35%) treated with cumulative anthracycline dose of 300 mg/m2 or more, had abnormal NT-pro-BNP levels which were significantly related to end-diastolic left ventricular internal diameter (LVIDd) indexed for body surface area (BSA) (P < 0.01).


Cardiac TnT does not contribute to the early detection of late onset anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity. Abnormal levels of NT-pro-BNP were detected in 13% of 122 asymptomatic, long-term survivors of childhood cancer. Follow-up of these survivors is essential to answer the question whether NT-pro-BNP is an early marker for late onset anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2009;52:631–636. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.