Tumor bed delineation for external beam accelerated partial breast irradiation: a systematic review

T Jonathan Yang, Randa Tao, Paula H M Elkhuizen, Corine van Vliet-Vroegindeweij, Guang Li, Simon N Powell
Radiotherapy and Oncology: Journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology 2013, 108 (2): 181-9
In recent years, accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) has been considered an alternative to whole breast irradiation for patients undergoing breast-conserving therapy. APBI delivers higher doses of radiation in fewer fractions to the post-lumpectomy tumor bed with a 1-2 cm margin, targeting the area at the highest risk of local recurrence while sparing normal breast tissue. However, there are inherent challenges in defining accurate target volumes for APBI. Studies have shown that significant interobserver variation exists among radiation oncologists defining the lumpectomy cavity, which raises the question of how to improve the accuracy and consistency in the delineation of tumor bed volumes. The combination of standardized guidelines and surgical clips significantly improves an observer's ability in delineation, and it is the standard in multiple ongoing external-beam APBI trials. However, questions about the accuracy of the clips to mark the lumpectomy cavity remain, as clips only define a few points at the margin of the cavity. This paper reviews the techniques that have been developed so far to improve target delineation in APBI delivered by conformal external beam radiation therapy, including the use of standardized guidelines, surgical clips or fiducial markers, pre-operative computed tomography imaging, and additional imaging modalities, including magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound imaging, and positron emission tomography/computed tomography. Alternatives to post-operative APBI, future directions, and clinical recommendations were also discussed.

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