Male Breast Cancer Patients at Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Male breast cancer patients are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Advancing the Cardiovascular Care of the Oncology Patient Virtual course.

This retrospective study comprised 24 male breast cancer patients evaluated at the medical centers. The population of interest were all between the ages of 38 and 79 years old. Overall, 42% were African American, 29% were Caucasian, 4% Hispanic and 25% another ethnicity. Half of the patients had a family history of breast cancer, the researchers noted.

According to the results, 88% of patients were overweight, 58% had high blood pressure and 54% had high cholesterol. The researchers observed that achyarrhythmia preexisted in 8% of patients and developed in 13% of patients while undergoing treatment. Moreover, the results found that two patients with reduced ejection fraction, while two other patients developed heart failure.


“How similar or dissimilar male and female breast cancer patients are is the fundamental, unanswered question. Contrary to most other medical conditions, data on breast cancer are driven from female patients. We extrapolate the evidence from female breast cancer patients, or the age matched male general population, and apply it to the cardiovascular care for male breast cancer patients,” Michael Ibrahim, fourth year medical student at Georgetown University and one of the study authors via a press release.

“However, in reality, we do not truly know the difference. For example, the median age of male breast cancer patients is older than their female counterparts. An older population could mean more cardiovascular comorbidities. More comorbidities could require more comprehensive and frequent serial monitoring. It is also unknown if risk of cardiotoxicity from anthracycline or HER-2 targeted therapy is greater or less in male versus female breast cancer patients, and more studies are warranted.”