Cancer Immunotherapy Can Cause Heart Muscle Damage

Doctors at Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems (Austria) review data on immune reactions in heart muscle inflammation.
By: KLU Krems
KREMS, Austria - April 17, 2020 - PRLog -- Immunotherapy is a powerful weapon in the fight against cancer, but inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis)is one of its most serious side effects. This has been highlighted in a review article on the immunological causes and processes of myocarditis, which has just been published by an international research team. Autoimmune reactions are in fact among the most common causes of myocarditis. And such reactions can be triggered by cancer immunotherapies due to their specific modes of action. The increasing use of these treatments could therefore lead to an increase in cases of myocarditis.

Inflammation of the heart muscle is extremely dangerous, but often remains undetected due to a lack of simple diagnostic options. Although the inflammation is often caused by infections, autoimmune responses are also a common trigger. A team of experts from Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems (KL Krems), Charité university hospital in Berlin and Columbia University in New York have now summarised the latest findings on the immunological processes underlying myocarditis in a review article, in which they identified cancer immunotherapy as a trigger of the disease. The success of cancer immunotherapy means that it is becoming an increasingly common treatment, which in the authors' view will go hand in hand with an increase in myocarditis.

Original publication: Autoimmunity in Acute Myocarditis: How Immunopathogenesis Steers New Directions for Diagnosis and Treatment. K. Bruestle, K. Hackner, G. Kreye, B. Heidecker. Current Cardiology Reports 2020; 22(5): 28. DOI: 10.1007/s11886-020-01278-1 (

About Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences

Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences (KL) is a pioneer for innovation in medical and health sciences education and research, and a catalyst for groundbreaking work which will benefit society at large. Research at KL focuses on niche fields in bridge disciplines such as molecular oncology and hematology, biomedical engineering, psychology and psychodynamics, as well as topics including water quality and related health issues. Study programmes include health sciences, human medicine, psychology, psychotherapy and counselling and have full European recognition. A network of university hospitals in St PoeltenPölten, Krems, and Tulln provides students with quality-assured, research-led education; it. It enables them to do internationally- recognized top-class clinical and translational research that is recognised worldwide. Karl Landsteiner University received accreditation by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria (AQ Austria) in 2013.

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