Early initiation of external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) may increase the risk of long-term toxicity in patients undergoing intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) as a boost for breast cancer

Frederik Wenz, Grit Welzel, Anke Keller, Elena Blank, Fatemeh Vorodi, Carsten Herskind, Oliver Tomé, Marc Sütterlin, Uta Kraus-Tiefenbacher
Breast: Official Journal of the European Society of Mastology 2008, 17 (6): 617-22

BACKGROUND: Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) during breast-conserving surgery is increasingly used. We analyzed the influence of the interval between an IORT boost and external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) on late toxicity.

METHODS: Forty-eight patients received 20 Gy IORT (50 kV X-rays (Intrabeam, Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen, Germany) followed by 46-50 Gy EBRT with a median interval of 36 days (14-197). Late toxicity was assessed with the modified LENT SOMA score after a median of 36 months.

RESULTS: Twelve patients developed a higher grade fibrosis ( degrees II-III), three teleangiectases, one a breast edema grade degrees II, six retractions, four hyperpigmentations and five pain ( degrees II-III). The median interval between IORT and EBRT was significantly shorter in these patients (n=18) compared to the 30 patients without higher grade toxicity (29.5 days vs. 39.5 days, p=0.023, Mann-Whitney U-test).

CONCLUSION: Starting EBRT about 5-6 weeks after IORT appears to be associated with a decreased risk of chronic late toxicity compared with a shorter interval. The impact on local recurrence of prolonged gaps between IORT and EBRT is not known.

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