Can evidence-based equivalence ratios for late-onset cardiomyopathy be determined between doxorubicin and other anthracyclines or an anthraquinone agent among childhood cancer survivors?
This large cohort study of 28 423 childhood cancer survivors with detailed cancer treatment exposures found that compared with doxorubicin, the anthraquinone mitoxantrone was associated with more cardiotoxic risk than current guidelines would suggest, whereas the anthracycline daunorubicin was associated with less cardiotoxic risk. The anthracycline epirubicin appeared isoequivalent to doxorubicin.
The cardiotoxicity equivalence ratios determined in the present study for the most commonly used cancer treatment agents may influence the choice of agents when designing new protocols.
Anthracyclines are part of many effective pediatric cancer treatment protocols. Most pediatric oncology treatment groups assume that the hematologic toxicity of anthracycline agents is equivalent to their cardiotoxicity; for example, Children’s Oncology Group substitution rules consider daunorubicin and epirubicin isoequivalent to doxorubicin, whereas mitoxantrone and idarubicin are considered 4 to 5 times as toxic as doxorubicin.
To determine optimal dose equivalence ratios for late-onset cardiomyopathy between doxorubicin and other anthracyclines or the anthraquinone mitoxantrone.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This multicenter cohort study of childhood cancer survivors who survived 5 or more years analyzed data pooled from 20 367 participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study treated from 1970 to 1999, 5741 participants in the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group LATER study diagnosed between 1963 and 2001, and 2315 participants in the St Jude Lifetime study treated from 1962 to 2005.
Cumulative doses of each agent (the anthracyclines doxorubicin, daunorubicin, epirubicin, and idarubicin; and the anthraquinone mitoxantrone) along with chest radiotherapy exposure were abstracted from medical records.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Cardiomyopathy (severe, life-threatening, or fatal) by 40 years of age. Agent-specific Cox proportional hazards models evaluated cardiomyopathy risk, adjusting for chest radiotherapy, age at cancer diagnosis, sex, and exposure to anthracyclines or to an anthraquinone. An agent-specific cardiomyopathy equivalence ratio (relative to doxorubicin) was estimated for each dose category as a ratio of the hazard ratios, and then a weighted mean determined the overall agent-specific equivalence ratio across all dose categories.
Of 28 423 survivors (46.4% female; median age at cancer diagnosis 6.1 years [range, 0.0-22.7 years]), 9330 patients received doxorubicin, 4433 received daunorubicin, 342 received epirubicin, 241 received idarubicin, and 265 received mitoxantrone. After a median follow-up of 20.0 years (range, 5.0-40.0 years) following receipt of a cancer diagnosis, 399 cardiomyopathy cases were observed. Relative to doxorubicin, the equivalence ratios were 0.6 (95% CI, 0.4-1.0) for daunorubicin, 0.8 (95% CI, 0.5-2.8) for epirubicin, and 10.5 (95% CI, 6.2-19.1) for mitoxantrone. Outcomes were too rare to generate idarubicin-specific estimates. Ratios based on a continuous linear dose-response relationship were similar for daunorubicin (0.5 [95% CI, 0.4-0.7]) and epirubicin (0.8 [95% CI, 0.3-1.4]). The relationship between mitoxantrone and doxorubicin appeared better characterized by a linear exponential model.
Conclusions and Relevance
In a large data set assembled to examine long-term cardiomyopathy risk in childhood cancer survivors, daunorubicin was associated with decreased cardiomyopathy risk vs doxorubicin, whereas epirubicin was approximately isoequivalent. By contrast, the current hematologic-based doxorubicin dose equivalency of mitoxantrone (4:1) appeared to significantly underestimate the association of mitoxantrone with long-term cardiomyopathy risk.
Feijen EAM, Leisenring WM, Stratton KL, et al. Derivation of Anthracycline and Anthraquinone Equivalence Ratios to Doxorubicin for Late-Onset Cardiotoxicity. JAMA Oncol. Published online January 31, 20195(6):864–871. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.6634
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