New Clinical Trial Seeks to Reduce Cardiovascular Damage in Patients Undergoing Anticancer Therapy for Breast Cancer

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Researchers have launched a new clinical trial examining the effectiveness of behavioral and psychological interventions at reducing cardiovascular damage caused by anticancer therapies in patients with breast cancer.


Breast cancer—the most common cancer type in the European Union—accounted for 13.3% of all new cancer cases in 2020. Previous studies have estimated that 9% (n = 1/11) of women in the European Union will develop breast cancer by the age of 74.

The 5-year CARDIOCARE project will harness the expertise of cardiologists, oncologists, psychologists, molecular biologists, bioinformaticians, computer scientists, biomedical engineers from seven countries across Europe—Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Slovenia, Sweden, the Netherlands, and France—in an effort to improve monitoring, treatment, and care in older patients with breast cancer.

“Cardiovascular disease is a devastating complication of anticancer treatment that affects physical and mental health,” explained Dimitrios I. Fotiadis, PhD, Professor at the University of Ioannina and a coordinator of the CARDIOCARE project. “CARDIOCARE will provide [patients] with breast cancer [over the age of 65] the tools to improve their physical health and to psychologically adapt to the disease,” he highlighted.

Study Methods and Goals

In the new clinical trial, the researchers plan to enroll 750 patients with breast cancer to evaluate the impact of behavioral and psychological interventions on the patients’ quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, and cardiotoxic effects following breast cancer treatment.

All of the patients involved in the trial will be randomly assigned to receive the CARDIOCARE mobile application incorporating both ePsycHeart and eHealtHeart or to receive the application with ePsycHeart only. The researchers noted that ePsycHeart will monitor quality of life, mobility, and mental health by utilizing a wearable chest band heart rate sensor, smartwatch, and questionnaires; whereas eHealtHeart will encourage patients in the intervention group to adopt behaviors such as physical activity, healthy diets, games to improve memory, and a home environment that reduces the risk of falls.

Another major goal of the new trial will include the early identification of patients with breast cancer at the greatest risk of cardiovascular damage from anticancer treatments. The researchers expect to use novel technologies such as next generation sequencing to pinpoint changes in gut microbe species that may indicate that damage is taking place prior to symptom occurrence. In addition, artificial intelligence will be used to analyze images of the heart to predict the likelihood of cardiovascular damage.


“[The] CARDIOCARE [project] is on track to improve the physical and mental health of older [patients] with breast cancer by detecting the cardiovascular side effects of anticancer treatment early and providing digital tools to help patients improve their mental and physical wellbeing,” Dr. Fotiadis concluded.

Updates from the CARDIOCARE project were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2023.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.