Broken Heart Syndrome: Broken heart is a risk factor for cancer

Broken Heart Syndrome: Broken heart is a risk factor for cancer

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Does Broken Heart Syndrome Increase Your Risk of Cancer?

Researchers have now found that one in six people with what is known as broken heart syndrome has cancer. This indicated a strong link between the heart disease and cancer.

The current study by the University of Zurich found that there seems to be a link between broken heart syndrome and cancer. The results were published in the journal Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA).

Effects on probability of survival determined

One in six people who suffer from broken heart syndrome are also diagnosed with cancer. Those affected also have a low probability of surviving five years after the onset of the disease, the researchers report.

What is broken heart syndrome?

Broken-heart syndrome (Takotsubo syndrome), which is also known as the broken heart syndrome in Germany, is a dysfunction of the heart muscle that occurs when the main pumping chamber of the heart temporarily enlarges and stops pumping properly. Although the syndrome feels like a heart attack (chest pain and shortness of breath), there is no heart muscle damage and no blockage of the coronary arteries that supply the heart. Broken-heart syndrome is triggered by emotional or physical stress.

Disease occurs more often

The study showed that this disease is not as rare as we previously thought. The effects of the so-called broken heart syndrome on the heart of patients are so serious that this topic should be taken seriously.

Results should alert oncologists and hematologists

The current international study shows a strong association between broken heart syndrome and cancer. Patients with Brocken Heart Syndrome may benefit if they are screened for cancer to improve their overall survival, the study's authors report. The study must make oncologists and hematologists aware that broken heart syndrome should be considered in patients who are undergoing cancer diagnosis or treatment and who have chest pain, shortness of breath, or abnormalities in the electrocardiogram, the researchers add.

What type of cancer was most common?

Out of 1,604 patients with the syndrome from the International Takotsubo Registry, 267 patients or one in six (mean age 69.5 years, 87.6 percent female) had cancer. The most common type of malignancy was breast cancer, followed by tumors affecting the gastrointestinal system, respiratory system, internal genital organs, skin and other areas.

Effects of the combination of both diseases

Compared to patients without cancer, the researchers found that cancer patients are more likely to have a physical trigger (such as medical intervention or physical trauma) before the syndrome - with a probability of 47.9 percent compared to 34 , 2 percent. In addition, cancer patients were more likely to die within five years of the onset of the syndrome. In contrast, both groups were just as likely to be alive 30 days after the onset of the syndrome. However, it was more likely that those with cancer died in hospital or needed intensive cardiac and respiratory support.

More research is needed

The study was too small to analyze whether the poorer prognosis in patients with broken-heart syndrome and cancer could be due to a specific type or stage of cancer or the cancer therapies received, the researchers explain. The mechanism by which the syndrome could affect malignancy and cancer treatment should be examined more closely. The results provide an additional reason to investigate the possible cardiotoxic effects of chemotherapy, report the authors of the study. (as)

More interesting articles on this topic can be found here:

  • Broken-Heart Syndrome: Fast help for broken hearts is possible
  • Broken-Heart: Persistent grief can dangerously throw the heart out of rhythm
  • Deadly lovesickness - stroke from a broken heart

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Victoria L. Cammann, Annahita Sarcon, Katharina J. Ding, Burkhardt Seifert, Ken Kato et al .: Clinical Features and Outcomes of Patients With Malignancy and Takotsubo Syndrome: Observations From the International Takotsubo Registry, in Journal of the American Heart Association (query : 18.07.2019), JAHA

Video: Voices of BIDMC Research: Can a Broken Heart Cause Heart Disease? (August 2022).