The role of endothelin-1 (ET-1) in certain pathological states is still unclear. We have investigated the effect of anthracyclines (maximum dose, 450mg/m2 of body surface) on left ventricular systolic and diastolic function and how it influences the level of plasma ET-1 in 21 patients (12 female and nine male) with Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We also studied the association between plasma ET-1 concentration and echocardiographic parameters. Serum ET-1 was measured by ELISA. Left ventricular function was analysed by echocardiography: ejection fraction (EF), velocity–time integral, E- and A-waves, E:A ratio, deceleration time (DT) and Doppler index were all measured. Statistical analysis was made by the Wilcoxon rank test. EF and serum ET-1 level decreased significantly (EF, 56.29±5.0% to 48.57±5.9%, P<0.0001; ET-1, 6.45±4.0pg/ml to 2.9±1.0pg/ml, P<0.0001). DT increased significantly (179.8±47.8ms to 215.5±66.7ms, P<0.01) after anthracycline therapy. There was no difference in other echocardiographic parameters before and after therapy. The decrease in serum ET-1 concentration might be a result of anthracycline's direct cytotoxic effect and the decreasing level of ET-1 can play a role in the reduction of EF. However, more studies are needed to evaluate the presence and severity of endothelial damage.

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