Cardiac dose estimates from Danish and Swedish breast cancer radiotherapy during 1977-2001

Carolyn W Taylor, Dorthe Brønnum, Sarah C Darby, Giovanna Gagliardi, Per Hall, Maj-Britt Jensen, Paul McGale, Andrew Nisbet, Marianne Ewertz
Radiotherapy and Oncology 2011, 100 (2): 176-83

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To estimate target and cardiac doses from breast cancer radiotherapy in Denmark and in the Stockholm and Umeå areas of Sweden during 1977-2001.

METHODS: Representative samples of irradiated women were identified from the databases of the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group and the Swedish Nationwide Cancer Registry. Virtual simulation, computed tomography planning and manual planning were used to reconstruct radiotherapy regimens on a typical woman. Estimates of target dose and various measures of cardiac dose were derived from individual radiotherapy charts.

RESULTS: Doses were estimated in 681 Danish and 130 Swedish women. Mean heart dose for individual women varied from 1.6 to 14.9 Gray in Denmark and from 1.2 to 22.1 Gray in Sweden. In Denmark, mean target doses averaged across women increased from 40.6 to 53.8 Gray during 1977-2001 but, despite this, mean heart dose averaged across women remained around 6 Gy for left-sided and 2-3 Gray for right-sided radiotherapy. In Sweden mean target dose averaged across women increased from 38.7 to 46.6 Gray during 1977-2001, while mean heart dose averaged across women decreased from 12.0 to 7.3 Gray for left-sided and from 3.6 to 3.2 Gray for right-sided radiotherapy. Temporal trends for mean biologically effective dose [BED] to the heart, mean dose to the left anterior descending coronary artery, the right coronary artery and the circumflex coronary artery were broadly similar.

CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac doses in Denmark were low relative to those in Sweden. In both countries, target dose increased during 1977-2001. Despite this, cardiac doses remained constant in Denmark and decreased in Sweden.

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