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Integration of biological factors in the treatment plan evaluation in breast cancer radiotherapy

Journal article
Authors Henrik Svensson
Dan Lundstedt
Maria Hällje
Magnus Gustafsson
Roumiana Chakarova
Per Karlsson
Published in Physics and Imaging in Radiation Oncology
Volume 11
Pages 54-60
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Radiation Physics
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Pages 54-60
Language en
Keywords Breast cancer, Intensity-modulated arc therapy, Risk assessment, Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, Volumetric-modulated arc therapy
Subject categories Cancer and Oncology


© 2019 The Authors Background/purpose: Tumor biology and patient smoking status have clear effects on the benefit of breast radiotherapy. This study developed treatment evaluation strategies that integrated dosimetry, tumor aggressiveness and smoking status for patients undergoing hypo-fractionated whole breast irradiation with simultaneous integrated boost. Materials/methods: The evaluation method Plan Quality Metrics (PQM) was adapted for breast cancer. Radiotherapy (RT) benefit was assessed for three levels of tumor aggressiveness; RT risk was estimated using mean dose to organs at risk and published Excess Relative Risk per Gy data for lung cancer and cardiac mortality for smokers and non-smokers. Risk for contralateral breast cancer was also evaluated. PQM and benefit/risk was applied to four patient groups (n = 10 each). Plans using 3D conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT), 3DCRT plus intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), 3DCRT plus volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) and VMAT were evaluated for each patient. Results: 3DCRT-IMRT hybrid planning resulted in higher PQM score (median 87.0 vs. 3DCRT 82.4, p < 0.01), better dose conformity, lower doses to the heart, lungs and contralateral breast. Survival benefit was most predominant for patients with high-risk breast cancer (>7% and >4.5% gain for non-smokers and smokers). For smokers with intermediate- or low-risk breast cancer, RT induced mortality risk dominated for all techniques. When considering the risk of local recurrence, RT benefitted also smokers (>5% and >2% for intermediate- and low-risk cancer). Conclusions: PQM methodology was suggested for breast cancer radiotherapy evaluation. Further validation is needed. RT was beneficial for all patients with high risk of recurrence. A survival benefit for smokers with low or intermediate risk of recurrence could not be confirmed.

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