Management of QT Prolongation Induced by Anticancer Drugs

  • Nicola MaureaEmail author
  • Rolando Paciello
  • Carmela Coppola
  • Dimitrios Farmakis
Part of the Current Clinical Pathology book series (CCPATH)


Recent advances in the field of cancer therapy have significantly improved the prognosis of oncologic patients; however, side effects associated with antineoplastic treatment remain the main cause of the high mortality of cancer survivors. The most serious adverse effect of anticancer therapy is cardiovascular toxicity, i.e. QT prolongation, arrhythmias, myocardial ischemia, stroke, hypertension, thromboembolism, left ventricular dysfunction, and heart failure, which can occur even in patients undergoing targeted therapy. In cases of QT prolongation, which is favoured by electrolyte abnormalities, low levels of serum potassium and antineoplastic drugs, suspension of the antineoplastic treatment and correction of the electrolyte abnormalities (hypokalaemia, hypomagnesaemia, hypocalcaemia) can help to restore normal conditions. Thereafter, the patient’s cardiac functions should be monitored. QT prolongation can also cause potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias and is treated with intravenous magnesium sulphate after electrical cardioversion.


QT prolongation Anticancer drugs Target therapy, Cardiotoxicity, Immunotherapy 



The authors thank Jean Ann Gilder (Scientific Communication srl., Naples, Italy) for editing the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola Maurea
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rolando Paciello
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carmela Coppola
    • 1
  • Dimitrios Farmakis
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of CardiologyIstituto Nazionale Tumori - IRCCS - Fondazione G. PascaleNaplesItaly
  2. 2.VIB Nanobody CoreVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of CardiologyCardio-Oncology Clinic, Heart Failure Unit, Attikon University Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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