“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A study looking at a blood test to check heart function in people having trastuzumab for breast cancer
This study compared a blood test and scan results to measure heart function in people having trastuzumab for breast cancer.
More about this trial
Trastuzumab can affect how well your heart works. When this study was done, doctors routinely checked people’s heart every few months with a scan called an echocardiogram, or echo. It is an ultrasound of the heart, which can show how well the heart is pumping.
Researchers wanted to see if they could use a blood test to assess any changes in heart function. They measured the amount of a protein called NT-proBNP in blood samples. Everyone taking part had scans and blood tests, so that the research team could compare the results.
The aim of the study was to see if doctors could use the NT-proBNP blood test to assess changes in heart function.
Summary of results
This study recruited 42 women who were having trastuzumab for breast cancer. They all had regular scans to measure their heart function. They also had a blood test to measure the level on NT-proBNP protein in their blood before they started treatment. And 33 women had at least one other NT-proBNP blood test during treatment.
The research team compared the blood test results with the heart scan results. They found there was no link between the two.
The level of NT-proBNP was higher at some points in some women who had reduced heart function. But higher at some points in other women who had normal heart function.
The research team also looked at the blood test people had before they started treatment. They found that a raised NT-proBNP level may be a sign that people are more likely to have reduced heart function during treatment. But the study was too small to say for sure.
The research team concluded that there was no link between the level of the NT-proBNP and heart function during trastuzumab treatment for breast cancer.
They suggest that NT-proBNP levels are looked at in a larger study to see if they can help predict who might develop reduced heart function during treatment.
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Richard Simcock
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)