Is carotid stiffness a possible surrogate for stroke in long-term survivors of childhood cancer after neck radiotherapy?
The risk for cerebrovascular late effects among childhood cancer survivors is considerable. According to recent studies it is not clear which marker could be reliable for the screening of cerebrovascular diseases among the long-term survivors of childhood cancer. The purpose of this study is to analyse arterial stiffness and intima media thickness as possible early markers of later occurring stroke.
Material and methods
Twenty-three patients, treated for HD in childhood, were included. They had received radiation therapy to the neck with 20- 65 (med.30) Gy. Twenty-six healthy controls, matched in age, sex, BMI, arterial hypertension, smoking history and total cholesterol levels were compared. High-resolution colour-coded duplex sonography and power Doppler sonography of the carotid arteries were performed and intima –media thickness, number and quality of plaques were measured. Arterial stiffness indices were calculated.
Plaque deposits and/or arterial wall calcinations were found in 24 out of 43 (55.8 %) vessels in cancer survivors group and 0 out of 52 vessels in the group of healthy controls (p < 0.01). We found significant group differences for all the stiffness parameters we used (P < 0.05), but there was no difference in intima–media thickness between cases and controls (p = 0.92). In a multivariate model, carotid pulse wave velocity was positively associated with smoking.
The arterial stiffness has appeared as a possible surrogate marker for stroke in long-term survivors of childhood cancer. Smoking habit might have an additional negative influence on vascular aging in the group of patients after neck radiotherapy.