Circulating Cardiovascular Biomarkers in Cancer Therapeutics-Related Cardiotoxicity: Review of Critical Challenges, Solutions, and Future Directions

Gillian Murtagh*, James L. Januzzi, Marielle Scherrer-Crosbie, Tomas G. Neilan, Susan Dent, Jennifer E. Ho, Vinesh Appadurai, Ray McDermott, Nausheen Akhter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cardiotoxicity is a growing concern in the oncology population. Transthoracic echocardiography and multigated acquisition scans have been used for surveillance but are relatively insensitive and resource intensive. Innovative imaging techniques are constrained by cost and availability. More sensitive, cost-effective cardiotoxicity surveillance strategies are needed. Circulating cardiovascular biomarkers could provide a sensitive, low-cost solution. Biomarkers such as troponins, natriuretic peptides (NPs), novel upstream signals of oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis as well as panomic technologies have shown substantial promise, and guidelines recommend baseline measurement of troponins and NPs in all patients receiving potential cardiotoxins. Nonetheless, supporting evidence has been hampered by several limitations. Previous reviews have provided valuable perspectives on biomarkers in cancer populations, but important analytic aspects remain to be examined in depth. This review provides comprehensive assessment of critical challenges and solutions in this field, with focus on analytical issues relating to biomarker measurement and interpretation. Examination of evidence pertaining to common and serious forms of cardiotoxicity reveals that improved study designs incorporating larger, more diverse populations, registry-based approaches, and refinement of current definitions are key. Further efforts to harmonize biomarker methodologies including centralized biobanking and analyses, novel decision limits, and head-to-head comparisons are needed. Multimarker algorithms incorporating machine learning may allow rapid, personalized risk assessment. These improvements will not only augment the predictive value of circulating biomarkers in cardiotoxicity but may elucidate both direct and indirect relationships between cardiovascular disease and cancer, allowing biomarkers a greater role in the development and success of novel anticancer therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere029574
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 7 2023


  • biomarkers
  • cardiotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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