Novel Biomarker in Cancer Survivors May Be Linked to Higher Risk of Mortality
Elevated N-terminal pro–brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels may be associated with a higher risk of mortality among cancer survivors, according to a recent study published by Cao et al in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. NT-proBNP—produced in response to the stretching of myocytes in the heart ventricles—is a biomarker of myocarditis, heart failure, and cancer treatment–related heart damage that can be traced in the blood.
Study Methods and Results
In this study, investigators used the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey study to compare NT-proBNP levels in 787 caner survivors with those in 12,574 controls. After adjusting for the influence of sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle factors, and chronic conditions, the investigators found the cancer survivors had higher NT-proBNP levels than controls. The higher levels of NT-proBNP were particularly evident in survivors of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer.
During a median follow-up of 13.4 years, cancer survivors who had high NT-proBNP levels had a statistically higher risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality—but not cancer-related mortality—compared with survivors who had low NT-proBNP levels.
The investigators emphasized that the new findings highlight the potential of using NT-proBNP for cardiovascular disease risk screening in cancer survivors. The new biomarker may help to identify a group of patients who may benefit from cardiovascular health monitoring and cardioprotective strategies.
Disclosure: The research in this study was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit academic.oup.com.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®.