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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Nov 1;69(3):694-702. Epub 2007 May 25.

Breast-conserving treatment with partial or whole breast irradiation for low-risk invasive breast carcinoma--5-year results of a randomized trial.

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Department of Radiotherapy, National Institute of Oncology, Budapest, Hungary.



To report the 5-year results of a randomized study comparing the survival and cosmetic results of breast-conserving treatment with partial breast irradiation (PBI) or conventional whole breast irradiation (WBI).


Between 1998 and 2004, 258 selected patients with T1 N0-1mi, Grade 1-2, nonlobular breast cancer without presence of extensive intraductal component and resected with negative margins were randomized after breast-conserving surgery to receive 50 Gy/25 fractions WBI (n = 130) or PBI (n = 128). The latter consisted of either 7 x 5.2 Gy high-dose-rate (HDR) multicatheter brachytherapy (BT; n = 88) or 50 Gy/25 fractions electron beam (EB) irradiation (n = 40).


At a median follow-up of 66 months, the 5-year actuarial rate of local recurrence was 4.7% and 3.4% in the PBI and WBI arms, respectively (p = 0.50). There was no significant difference in the 5-year probability of overall survival (94.6% vs. 91.8%), cancer-specific survival (98.3% vs. 96.0%), and disease-free survival (88.3% vs. 90.3%). The rate of excellent to good cosmetic result was 77.6% in the PBI group (81.2% after HDR BT; 70.0% after EB) and 62.9% in the control group (52.2% after telecobalt; 65.6% after 6-9-MV photons; p(WBI/PBI) = 0.009).


Partial breast irradiation using interstitial HDR implants or EB to deliver radiation to the tumor bed alone for a selected group of early-stage breast cancer patients produces 5-year results similar to those achieved with conventional WBI. Significantly better cosmetic outcome can be achieved with carefully designed HDR multicatheter implants compared with the outcome after WBI.

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