(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Patients with breast cancer have marked impairment to cardiopulmonary function across the entire survivorship continuum, according to researchers from Duke University, Durham, NC. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Cardiopulmonary Function and Age-Related Decline across the Breast Cancer Survivorship Continuum,” which was published online in Journal of Clinical Oncology on May 21.

In this study, the investigators aimed to “evaluate cardiopulmonary function (as measured by peak oxygen consumption [VO2peak]) across the breast cancer continuum and its prognostic significance in women with metastatic disease.” Eligible breast cancer patients were represented in four cohorts, representing the treatment continuum: 1) before, 2) during, and 3) after adjuvant therapy for non-metastatic disease; and 4) during therapy in metastatic disease. Cardiopulmonary function was measured by a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) and used to determine VO2peak.

From 248 women evaluated in this study, the investigators reported a mean VO2peak of 17.8 ± a standard deviation of 4.3mL/kg/min, the equivalent of 27% ± 17% below age-matched healthy sedentary women. For the entire cohort, 32% had a VO2peak less than 15.4mL/kg/min—the VO2peak required for functional independence. VO2peak was significantly different across breast cancer cohorts for relative (mL/kg/min) and absolute (L/min) VO2peak (P=.017 and P<.001, respectively); VO2peak was lowest in women with metastatic disease.

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The investigators concluded that “patients with breast cancer have marked impairment in VO2peak across the entire survivorship continuum. VO2peak may be an independent predictor of survival in metastatic disease.”