Childhood Cancer Survivor Cardiovascular Risk Studied

Elevated risk found for those who had full-body or chest and abdomen irradiation or are inactive
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of childhood cancer are at increased cardiovascular risk as they age if they were treated with full-body or torso irradiation or are physically inactive, according to a study in the January Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Lillian R. Meacham, M.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues followed a group of 8,599 survivors of five or more years after having cancer in childhood, and 2,936 siblings who did not have cancer. The groups completed questionnaires at baseline and in 2000 and 2003, eliciting information on demographics, health habits and medical conditions. The researchers assessed the subjects for body mass index of at least 30 kg/m2, and self-reported medications for dyslipidemia, hypertension, and impaired glucose metabolism. Three or more of the conditions constituted Cardiovascular Risk Factor Cluster (CVRFC), a surrogate for Metabolic Syndrome.

The researchers found that the cancer survivors were more likely than their siblings to be treated for dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes. Overall, the survivors were not more likely than siblings to be obese or have CVRFC, but survivor subgroups were at elevated risk, including older age (odds ratio, 8.2 for ≥40 versus <30 years of age), exposure to full body irradiation (odds ratio, 5.5), radiation to the chest and abdomen (odds ratio, 2.3), and physical inactivity (odds ratio, 1.7).

"Among adult survivors of pediatric cancer, older attained age, exposure to total body irradiation or abdominal plus chest radiation, and a sedentary life-style are associated with CVRFC," the authors write.

One author reported receiving research grants from Genentech, Novo Nordisck and Pfizer, while another author reported a financial and consulting relationship with EMD Serono.

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