To date, five cancer treatment modalities have been defined. The three traditional modalities of cancer treatment are surgery, radiotherapy, and conventional chemotherapy, and the two modern modalities include molecularly targeted therapy (the fourth modality) and immunotherapy (the fifth modality). The cardiotoxicity associated with conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy is well known. Similar adverse cardiac events are resurging with the fourth modality. Aside from the conventional and newer targeted agents, even the most newly developed, immune-based therapeutic modalities of anticancer treatment (the fifth modality), e.g., immune checkpoint inhibitors and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, have unfortunately led to potentially lethal cardiotoxicity in patients. Cardiac complications represent unresolved and potentially life-threatening conditions in cancer survivors, while effective clinical management remains quite challenging. As a consequence, morbidity and mortality related to cardiac complications now threaten to offset some favorable benefits of modern cancer treatments in cancer-related survival, regardless of the oncologic prognosis. This review focuses on identifying critical research-practice gaps, addressing real-world challenges and pinpointing real-time insights in general terms under the context of clinical cardiotoxicity induced by the fourth and fifth modalities of cancer treatment. The information ranges from basic science to clinical management in the field of cardio-oncology and crosses the interface between oncology and onco-pharmacology. The complexity of the ongoing clinical problem is addressed at different levels. A better understanding of these research-practice gaps may advance research initiatives on the development of mechanism-based diagnoses and treatments for the effective clinical management of cardiotoxicity.

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Medicinal Research Reviews

Zheng, P., Li, J. (Jin), & Kros, J. (2018). Breakthroughs in modern cancer therapy and elusive cardiotoxicity: Critical research-practice gaps, challenges, and insights. Medicinal Research Reviews (Vol. 38, pp. 325–376). doi:10.1002/med.21463