Adjuvant hypofractionated versus conventional whole breast radiation therapy for early-stage breast cancer: long-term hospital-related morbidity from cardiac causes

Elisa K Chan, Ryan Woods, Mary L McBride, Sean Virani, Alan Nichol, Caroline Speers, Elaine S Wai, Scott Tyldesley
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2014 March 15, 88 (4): 786-92

PURPOSE: The risk of cardiac injury with hypofractionated whole-breast/chest wall radiation therapy (HF-WBI) compared with conventional whole-breast/chest wall radiation therapy (CF-WBI) in women with left-sided breast cancer remains a concern. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is an increase in hospital-related morbidity from cardiac causes with HF-WBI relative to CF-WBI.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between 1990 and 1998, 5334 women ≤ 80 years of age with early-stage breast cancer were treated with postoperative radiation therapy to the breast or chest wall alone. A population-based database recorded baseline patient, tumor, and treatment factors. Hospital administrative records identified baseline cardiac risk factors and other comorbidities. Factors between radiation therapy groups were balanced using a propensity-score model. The first event of a hospital admission for cardiac causes after radiation therapy was determined from hospitalization records. Ten- and 15-year cumulative hospital-related cardiac morbidity after radiation therapy was estimated for left- and right-sided cases using a competing risk approach.

RESULTS: The median follow-up was 13.2 years. For left-sided cases, 485 women were treated with CF-WBI, and 2221 women were treated with HF-WBI. Mastectomy was more common in the HF-WBI group, whereas boost was more common in the CF-WBI group. The CF-WBI group had a higher prevalence of diabetes. The 15-year cumulative hospital-related morbidity from cardiac causes (95% confidence interval) was not different between the 2 radiation therapy regimens after propensity-score adjustment: 21% (19-22) with HF-WBI and 21% (17-25) with CF-WBI (P=.93). For right-sided cases, the 15-year cumulative hospital-related morbidity from cardiac causes was also similar between the radiation therapy groups (P=.76).

CONCLUSIONS: There is no difference in morbidity leading to hospitalization from cardiac causes among women with left-sided early-stage breast cancer treated with HF-WBI or CF-WBI at 15-year follow-up.

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