Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) is an option for patients with localized breast recurrences after previous external-beam radiotherapy

Uta Kraus-Tiefenbacher, Lelia Bauer, Antonella Scheda, Carola Schoeber, Joerg Schaefer, Volker Steil, Frederik Wenz
BMC Cancer 2007 September 14, 7: 178

BACKGROUND: For patients suffering of recurrent breast cancer within the irradiated breast, generally mastectomy is recommended. The normal tissue tolerance does not permit a second full-dose course of radiotherapy to the entire breast after a second breast-conserving surgery (BCS). A novel option is to treat these patients with partial breast irradiation (PBI). This approach is based on the hypothesis that re-irradiation of a limited volume will be effective and result in an acceptable frequency of side effects. The following report presents a single center experience with intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) during excision of recurrent breast cancer in the previously irradiated breast.

METHODS: Between 4/02 and 11/06, 15 patients were treated for in-breast recurrences at a median of 10 years (3-25) after previous EBRT (10 recurrences in the initial tumor bed, 3 elsewhere in-breast failures, 2 invasive recurrences after previous DCIS). Additional 2 patients were selected for IORT with new primary breast cancer after previous partial breast EBRT for treatment of Hodgkin's disease. IORT with a single dose of 14.7 - 20 Gy 50 kV X-rays at the applicator surface was delivered with the Intrabeam-device (Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen, Germany).

RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 26 months (1-60), no local recurrence occurred. 14 out of 17 patients are alive and free of disease progression. Two patients are alive with distant metastases. One patient died 26 months after BCS/IORT due to pulmonary metastases diagnosed 19 months after BCS/IORT. Acute toxicity after IORT was mild with no Grade 3/4 toxicities and cosmetic outcome showed excellent/good/fair results in 7/7/3 cases.

CONCLUSION: IORT for recurrent breast cancer using low energy X-rays is a valuable option for patients with recurrent breast cancer after previous radiotherapy.

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