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Microvascular Endothelial Dysfunction Predicts Solid Tumor Cancer Risk

The heart.

Microvascular endothelial dysfunction (MED), which is characterized by damage to the walls of small arteries in the heart, limiting the regulation of oxygen and blood supply, serves as an effective predictor of cardiovascular disease. In addition, a recent study reports, MED significantly increases an individual's risk of developing solid-tumor cancer.

In a study now published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, Amir Lerman, MD, the Director of Cardiovascular Research at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues analyzed the records of 488 cardiac patients who underwent microvascular endothelial function assessment at Mayo Clinic between January 2006 and February 2014. Assessment was performed with reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT), a noninvasive procedure which measures blood flow during blood pressure inflation and release. For the study, MED was defined as an RH-PAT index of 2.0 or lower.

During a median follow-up period of six years, 9.5% of patients with MED were diagnosed with a solid-tumor cancer, compared with 3.7% of patients without MED. The association between MED and solid-tumor cancer was most evident in men and in patients who had other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, significant coronary artery disease, and high body mass index. In patients with MED who developed solid-tumor cancer, MED generally preceded the cancer diagnosis by at least five years.

"MED measured using RH-PAT acts as an indicator of risk for the future development of solid-tumor cancer and could therefore be used to identify patients who require more aggressive screening," conclude Dr. Lerman and colleagues. "This in turn could allow for the detection of pre-malignant disease or cancer in the early stages of its natural history that may still be amenable to curative therapy, or potentially identify individuals at risk in whom lifestyle interventions and therapeutic approaches targeting vascular health could be recommended."

For More Information

Toya T, Sara JD, Corban MT, et al (2019). Assessment of peripheral endothelial function predicts future risk of solid-tumor cancer. Eur J Prev Cardiol. [Epub ahead of print] DOI:10.1177/2047487319884246

Image credit: Patrick J. Lynch. Licensed under CC BY 2.5


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