Electron and high-dose-rate brachytherapy boost in the conservative treatment of stage I-II breast cancer first results of the randomized Budapest boost trial

Csaba Polgár, János Fodor, Zsolt Orosz, Tibor Major, Zoltán Takácsi-Nagy, László Csaba Mangel, Zoltán Sulyok, András Somogyi, Miklós Kásler, György Németh
Strahlentherapie und Onkologie: Organ der Deutschen Röntgengesellschaft ... [et Al] 2002, 178 (11): 615-23

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: To evaluate the effect of electron and high-dose-rate brachytherapy (HDR BT) boost on local tumor control (LTC), side effects and cosmesis after breast-conserving surgery (BCS) in a prospective randomized study.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 207 women with stage I-II breast cancer who underwent BCS were treated by 50 Gy irradiation to the whole breast and then randomly assigned to receive either a boost to the tumor bed (n = 104) or no further radiotherapy (n = 103). Boost treatments consisted of either 16 Gy electron irradiation (n = 52) or 12-14,25 Gy HDR BT (n = 52). Breast cancer-related events, side effects, and cosmetic results were assessed.

RESULTS: At a median follow-up of 5.3 years, the crude rate of local recurrences was 6.7% (7/104) with and 15.5% (16/103) without boost. The 5-year probability of LTC, relapse-free survival (RFS), and cancer-specific survival (CSS) was 92.7% vs. 84.9% (p = 0.049), 76.6% vs. 66.2% (p = 0.044), and 90.4% vs. 82.1% (p = 0.053), respectively. There was no significant difference in LTC between patients treated with electron or HDR BT boost (94.2% vs. 91.4%; p = 0.74). On multivariate analysis, patient age < 40 years (RR: 4.53), positive margin status (RR: 4.17), and high mitotic activity index (RR: 3.60) were found to be significant risk factors for local recurrence. The incidence of grade 2-3 side effects was higher in the boost arm (17.3% vs. 7.8%; p = 0.03). However, the rate of excellent/good cosmetic results was similar for the two arms (85.6% vs 91.3%; p = 0.14). Cosmesis was rated as excellent/good in 88.5% of patients treated with HDR BT and 82.7% of patients with electron boost (p = 0.29).

CONCLUSIONS: Boost dose significantly improves LTC and RFS in patients treated with BCS and radiotherapy. In spite of the higher incidence of late side effects in the boost arm, boost dose is strongly recommended for patients at high risk for local recurrence. Positive or close margin status, high mitotic activity index, and young patient age should be viewed as absolute indications for tumor bed boost. LTC and cosmesis are excellent and similar to patients boosted with either HDR BT or electrons.

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