Screenings may benefit adults with cancer who have elevated risks for heart complications

A doctor and healthcare provider discuss a patient's care.

Checkpoint inhibitors help the body fight cancer by supporting specific immune functions. This type of tailored treatment may alleviate broader side effects of other approaches. However, while rare, some adults may experience heart inflammation during treatment.

Among 2,600 adults who received checkpoint inhibitors, 27, or 1%, experienced myocarditis, or heart inflammation. Those who experienced myocarditis were more likely to have abnormal levels of
AST, ALT, and CPK, indicators of how well the body is functioning. The researchers conclude that since these markers are often assessed through medical care, the information could help doctors identify and support adults with increased risks for heart problems, especially during the first three months of treatment.

The findings published in JACC: CardioOncology. The research was supported by NHLBI and the National Institute on Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.