A recent study in animal models implies that the presence of a cancer tumor alone can cause cardiac damage and that the culprits are chemicals known as free radicals interacting with certain heart cells. When two of the living creatures i.e., mice and fruit flies, were studied to test their cardiac abilities, it showed that tumors caused varying degrees of cardiac dysfunction, including a reduced heart’s ability to pump blood.
The heart muscles begin to damage in cancer sufferers before even starting chemotherapy:
Before the detailed research, many health specialists used to think that the association between cancer and cardiac disease is due to the toxic effects of chemotherapy and the muscular atrophy that many cancer patients undergo. This is the first investigation that was initiated to see the direct impact of cancer on heart dysfunction using a genomic system. Scientists determined that various cancer-associated genes have distinct effects in patients, indicating that genetic data may one day be used to guide cancer patients’ heart-protective treatment selections. Through this study, researchers wanted to make doctors aware that when cancer is initially detected, even before the loss of muscle mass or treatment, other organs receive the message and are affected.
Cachexia, a muscle-wasting syndrome that can lead to heart failure, affects 50 to 80 percent of cancer patients, and radiation and chemotherapy therapies are linked to teratogenic effects that damage heart function. The fact that heart dysfunction starts before the treatment was tested when neuroscientists injected breast cancer cells into mouse mammary glands and evaluated the animals’ heart performance after a month. They discovered that left ventricular ejection fraction and fractional dilation, two indicators of cardiac pumping output, had dropped by roughly 20% and 22%, respectively. A similar kind of experiment was performed on fruit flies, and the same results were observed in mice, the tumors also increased the heart rate of fruit flies. The reactive oxygen species or free radicals were noticed to be at a higher rate in both fruit flies and mice with tumors.
The effect of antioxidants on tumors:
Antioxidants alleviate cardiac dysfunction caused by tumors in fruit flies.
Adding particular antioxidants to the diet ingested by tumor-bearing fruit flies repaired the damage to their hearts, suggesting that free radical damage is the likely, the connection between cancer and cardiac dysfunction. Four antioxidants were given to the fruit flies’ meals for seven days to see if they might cure tumor-related heart damage: glutathione (GSH), vitamin E, CoQ10, or vitamin C. All but vitamin C restored the flies, according to the results.
This research still needed time to get completed as the team who was studying the relation of antioxidants and tumors still couldn’t identify which one on anti-oxidant worked best against tumors. Another thing that they added was that there is still a lot to learn about how these defenders could fit into a therapeutic plan, as reactive oxygen species represent just one documented cause of tumor-related myocardial damage. It was concluded that free radicals might be present in the bloodstream of cancer patients and work as messengers for tumors to cause heart failure. Their next task is to determine the networks of cancer in the blood of cancer patients and decide which antioxidants they can suggest inhibiting the progression of tumors.