Identifying patients who are unsuitable for accelerated partial breast irradiation using three-dimensional external beam conformal techniques

Naoto Shikama, Naoki Nakamura, Naoaki Kunishima, Shogo Hatanaka, Kenji Sekiguchi
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2012 July 1, 83 (3): e313-8

PURPOSE: Several recent studies reported that severe late toxicities including soft-tissue fibrosis and fat necrosis are present in patients treated with accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) and that these toxicities are associated with the large volume of tissue targeted by high-dose irradiation. The present study was performed to clarify which patients are unsuitable for APBI to avoid late severe toxicities.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Study subjects comprised 50 consecutive patients with Stage 0-II unilateral breast cancer who underwent breast-conserving surgery, and in whom five or six surgical clips were placed during surgery. All patients were subsequently replanned using three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) APBI techniques according to the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) B-39 and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 0413 protocol. The beam arrangements included mainly noncoplanar four- or five-field beams using 6-MV photons alone.

RESULTS: Dose-volume histogram (DVH) constraints for normal tissues according to the NSABP/RTOG protocol were satisfied in 39 patients (78%). Multivariate analysis revealed that only long craniocaudal clip distance (CCD) was correlated with nonoptimal DVH constraints (p = 0.02), but that pathological T stage, anteroposterior clip distance (APD), site of ipsilateral breast (IB) (right/left), location of the tumor (medial/lateral), and IB reference volume were not. DVH constraints were satisfied in 20% of patients with a long CCD (≥5.5 cm) and 92% of those with a short CCD (p < 0.0001). Median IB reference volume receiving ≥50% of the prescribed dose (IB-V(50)) of all patients was 49.0% (range, 31.4-68.6). Multivariate analysis revealed that only a long CCD was correlated with large IB-V(50) (p < 0.0001), but other factors were not.

CONCLUSION: Patients with long CCDs (≥5.5 cm) might be unsuitable for 3D-CRT APBI because of nonoptimal DVH constraints and large IB-V(50).

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