Cancer and cardiovascular disease are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Older cancer patients often wrestle with underlying heart disease during cancer therapy, whereas childhood cancer survivors are living long enough to face long-term unintended cardiac consequences of cancer therapies, including anthracyclines. Although effective and widely used, particularly in the pediatric population, anthracycline-related side effects including dose-dependent association with cardiac dysfunction limit their usage. Currently, there is only one United States Food and Drug Administration-approved drug, dexrazoxane, available for the prevention and mitigation of cardiotoxicity related to anthracycline therapy. While aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce cardiovascular complications in multiple diseases, its role as a therapeutic approach to mitigate cardiovascular consequences of cancer therapy is in its infancy. This systematic review aims to summarize how aerobic exercise can help to alleviate unintended cardiotoxic side effects and identify gaps in need of further research. While published work supports the benefits of aerobic exercise, additional clinical investigations are warranted to determine the effects of different exercise modalities, timing, and duration to identify optimal aerobic training regimens for reducing cardiovascular complications, particularly late cardiac effects, in cancer survivors exposed to anthracyclines.
- aerobic exercise
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