Anthracycline drugs (such as doxorubicin) and anti-HER2 therapies (such as trastuzumab) are commonly used to treat women with breast cancer. However, these medications can cause abnormal heart function. Strain imaging is a new method of monitoring heart function in cancer patients and uses ultrasound. In this study, researchers want to see if strain imaging is useful for monitoring heart function during breast cancer treatment.
Researchers also want to see if the drug carvedilol can protect heart function in women receiving anthracycline and anti-HER2 therapies for breast cancer. Carvedilol is a drug called a beta blocker and is already used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure. The patients in this study who show decreased “strain” on an ultrasound of the heart, which may indicate an increased risk of cardiac side effects from cancer treatment, will be randomly assigned to receive carvedilol or a placebo. The investigators will see if carvedilol can protect heart function and prevent interruption of breast cancer treatment. They’ll also do blood tests to see if they can identify markers that will indicate which patients are most likely to benefit from carvedilol.