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Ann Surg Oncol. 2010 Oct;17 Suppl 3:359-67. doi: 10.1245/s10434-010-1257-z. Epub 2010 Sep 19.

Health-related quality of life after breast-conserving surgery and intraoperative radiotherapy for breast cancer using low-kilovoltage X-rays.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Theodor-Kutzer Ufer 1-3, Mannheim, Germany.



Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) is currently being evaluated as a novel approach during breast-conserving surgery (BCS). IORT can be used either as a tumor bed boost followed by external-beam radiotherapy (EBRT) or as a single treatment. In a matched-pair study, we assessed quality of life (QoL) in 69 patients with early breast cancer treated with BCS and/or IORT and/or EBRT.


Patients were matched for age and time since BCS. IORT was provided with 50 kV x-rays (Intrabeam) delivering 20 Gy at the applicator surface. EBRT (46 to 50 Gy in 2-Gy fractions in the IORT with EBRT group, and 56 Gy in 2-Gy fractions in the EBRT group) was initiated after completion of wound healing and/or chemotherapy. The mailed questionnaires included the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 and BR23, FACT-F, HADS, Body Image Scale, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. At 18 to 70 months' follow-up (median 47 months), all patients were disease free.


We found only a few differences between the three groups. There was a trend toward more pain (mean ± standard deviation; 42.8 ± 32.9 vs. 27.5 ± 34.7) and reduced QoL (57.6 ± 20.7 vs. 70.3 ± 23.9) after IORT with EBRT compared with EBRT, respectively. IORT patients reported comparable QoL (70.3 ± 23.0), and less breast symptoms and body image concerns compared to EBRT (8.6 ± 12.3 vs. 19.2 ± 23.8, and 1.7 ± 3.3 vs. 3.4 ± 4.4, respectively). IORT alone resulted in significantly fewer breast symptoms (8.6 ± 12.3; P = 0.012) and less pain (23.9 ± 24.5, P = 0.041) compared with IORT with EBRT (26.1 ± 27.6; 42.8 ± 32.9, respectively).


Patients with early breast cancer after BCS and IORT with or without EBRT present with comparable QoL like patients receiving EBRT without a boost. IORT patients show the lowest rate of breast symptoms.

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