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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 Aug 1;65(5):1368-74.

Dose-modeling study to compare external beam techniques from protocol NSABP B-39/RTOG 0413 for patients with highly unfavorable cardiac anatomy.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI, USA.



The aim of this study was to select patients with heart anatomy that is specifically unfavorable for tangential irradiation in whole-breast radiotherapy (WBRT), to be used as an experimental cohort to compare cardiac dosimetric and radiobiological parameters of three-dimensional conformal external beam accelerated partial breast irradiation (3D-CRT APBI) to WBRT with techniques as defined by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) B-39/Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 0413 clinical trial.


A dosimetric modeling study that compared WBRT and 3D-CRT APBI was performed on CT planning data from 8 patients with left-sided breast cancer. Highly unfavorable cardiac anatomy was defined by the measured contact of the myocardium with the anterior chest wall in the axial and para-sagittal planes. Treatment plans of WBRT and 3D-CRT APBI were generated for each patient in accordance with NSABP B-39/RTOG 0413 protocol. Dose-volume relationships of the heart, including the V5min (minimum dose delivered to 5% of the cardiac volume), biological effective dose (BED) of the V5min, and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) were analyzed and compared.


Despite expected anatomic variation, significantly large differences were found favoring 3D-CRT APBI in cumulative dose-volume histograms (p < 0.01), dose to the entire heart (mean difference 3.85 Gy, p < 0.01), NTCP (median difference, 1.00 Gy; p < 0.01), V5min (mean difference, 24.53 Gy; p < 0.01), and proportional reduction in radiobiological effect on the V5min (85%, p < 0.01).


Use of 3D-CRT APBI can demonstrate improved sparing of the heart in select patients with highly unfavorable cardiac anatomy for WBRT, and may result in reduced risk of cardiac morbidity and mortality.

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