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Brachytherapy. 2005;4(2):121-9.

Accelerated partial breast irradiation: a dosimetric comparison of three different techniques.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI 48072, USA.



We report the first single-institutional dosimetric comparison of patients treated with three forms of accelerated partial breast irradiation: interstitial HDR brachytherapy, the MammoSite balloon apparatus, and 3D conformal external beam quadrant irradiation (3D-CRT).


A retrospective dosimetric comparison of interstitial HDR brachytherapy, MammoSite balloon brachytherapy, and 3D-CRT was performed. Thirty patients including 10 from each treatment technique were included for a dosimetric comparison of the dose received by the ipsilateral breast, PTV, heart, and ipsilateral lung. Interstitial patients were treated with 4 Gy in 8 fractions to 32 Gy, and the MammoSite patients were treated with 3.4 Gy in 10 fractions to 34 Gy. 3D-CRT patients were treated with 3.85 Gy in 10 fractions to 38.5 Gy using multiple isocentric beams. The CT images from simulation or implant evaluation were transferred into our 3D treatment planning software. The lumpectomy cavities were outlined for every patient, except the MammoSite patients, where the cavity was defined by the balloon edge. The PTV was constructed as a uniform expansion of 1.5 cm for all interstitial HDR patients, 1.0 cm for the MammoSite patients, and a 1.0 cm expansion in addition to the CTV expansion of 1.0 cm (n=2), and 1.5 cm (n=8) for the 3D-CRT patients. The CTV expansion for 3D-CRT and the PTV expansion for the brachytherapy patients were limited to the chest wall and skin. Normal structures including both ipsilateral lung and breast and heart for left-sided lesions were outlined. The lumpectomy cavity was subtracted from the PTV and normal breast tissue for evaluation. To evaluate dose to the ipsilateral breast and lung, PTV, and heart, a dose-volume histogram (DVH) analysis was performed. All histograms were normalized to the volume of the structure (i.e., expressed as percent volume).


The average percentage of the breast receiving 100% and 50% of the prescribed dose (PD) was higher in the 3D-CRT group (24% and 48%, respectively) compared with the MammoSite (5% and 18%, respectively) and interstitial patients (10% and 26%, respectively). Improved coverage of the PTV was noted in the 3D-CRT plans compared with the MammoSite and interstitial HDR plans. With the interstitial HDR technique, 58% of the PTV received 100% of the PD compared with 76% with MammoSite and 100% with 3D-CRT techniques. The percentage of the PTV receiving 90% of the PD was 68%, 91%, and 100% for the interstitial HDR, MammoSite, and 3D-CRT patients, respectively. The ipsilateral lung V20 was slightly higher for 3D-CRT at 5% compared with 0% for both brachytherapy techniques.


In those treated with 3D-CRT, coverage of the PTV was better with 3D-CRT but varied with the definition used. At the coverage at 90% of the PD, no difference was observed between 3D-CRT and MammoSite (which were both better than interstitial). 3D-CRT resulted in better coverage of the PTV compared with MammoSite or interstitial brachytherapy techniques. Better PTV coverage with 3D-CRT came at the cost of a higher integral dose to the remaining normal breast. Dosimetrically, the best partial breast irradiation technique appears to depend on the clinical situation. Of the brachytherapy techniques, MammoSite appears to be superior in PTV coverage. When comparing MammoSite vs. 3D-CRT PTV coverage at 90% of the PD, the difference was not significantly different.

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