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Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2008 Sep;20(7):502-5. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2008.04.020. Epub 2008 Jun 16.

Acute toxicity and 2-year adverse effects of 30 Gy in five fractions over 15 days to whole breast after local excision of early breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiotherapy, Royal Marsden Hospital, Downs Road, Sutton, UK.



A pilot study was undertaken with the aim of documenting acute skin reactions and 2-year late adverse effects of a five-fraction course of adjuvant whole breast radiotherapy delivered over 15 days after local tumour excision of early breast cancer.


Thirty women with early invasive breast cancer aged>or=50 years with a pathological tumour size<3 cm, complete microscopic resection, negative axillary node status and no requirement for cytotoxic therapy were prescribed 30 Gy in five fractions over 15 days to the whole breast using tangential 6-10 MV X-ray beams and three-dimensional dose compensation with written informed consent. Post-surgical baseline photographs of the breasts were taken, and acute skin erythema and moist desquamation were each scored weekly for 7 weeks using four-point graded scales (grade 0=none, 1=mild, 2=moderate, 3=severe). This was followed by an annual clinical assessment, including repeat photographs at 2 years.


Nine patients (30%, 95% confidence interval 14.7-49.4%) developed grade 2 erythema, with the remaining 21 patients developing milder degrees of reaction. Four (13.3%, 95% confidence interval 3.7-30.7) patients developed moist desquamation, grade 1 in three women and grade 2 in the fourth. At 2 years after treatment, 23/30 (77%) patients scored no change in photographic breast appearance compared with the pre-treatment baseline; seven (23%, 95% confidence interval 9.9-42.3) scored a mild change in breast appearance, and none developed a marked change. After a mean follow-up of 3.1 years (standard deviation 0.37, range 2.1-3.9 years) there have been no ipsilateral local tumour relapses.


Further evaluation of a five-fraction regimen of adjuvant whole breast radiotherapy in a phase III randomised trial is justified, including a regimen delivered in a total of 5 days.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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