Intraoperative radiotherapy as accelerated partial breast irradiation for early breast cancer : beware of one-stop shops?

Marie-Luise Sautter-Bihl, Felix Sedlmayer, Wilfried Budach, Jürgen Dunst, Rita Engenhart-Cabillic, Rainer Fietkau, Petra Feyer, Wulf Haase, Wolfgang Harms, Claus Rödel, Rainer Souchon, Frederik Wenz, Rolf Sauer
Strahlentherapie und Onkologie: Organ der Deutschen Röntgengesellschaft ... [et Al] 2010, 186 (12): 651-7
Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) was originally introduced in breast cancer treatment as an "anticipated boost" during the procedure of breast conserving surgery (BCS). In addition to whole breast irradiation (WBI), it has yielded excellent long-term results [31, 38]. Under the assumption that the majority of in-breast tumor recurrences (IBTR) occur in the originally affected site, accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) as the sole treatment modality was initiated in several studies and with different techniques, one of which was IORT first with electrons, later also with conventional x-rays [29]. The question whether and for whom the gold standard of WBI may be replaced by APBI - especially IORT - alone has recently been one of the most controversial issues of adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. Two recently published studies by Veronesi et al. [36] and Vaidya et al. [35] presenting shortterm results of single shot IORT with electrons (ELIOT) and with an orthovoltage system (TARGIT), respectively, have further invigorated this discussion as illustrated by several letters to the editor commenting on the TARGIT study. While Vaidya et al. [35] indicate their results of IORT alone as "an alternative to WBI for selected patients" and one editorial even proclaims it as standard [6], all the authors of the respective letters [10, 16, 27, 33] strongly disagree with this conclusion. The present editorial comments on the two publications and, furthermore, provides respective statements of the breast cancer expert panel of the German Society of Radiation Oncology (DEGRO).

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