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Front Oncol. 2012 May 8;2:44. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2012.00044. eCollection 2012.

Comparison of Acute and Late Toxicity of Two Regimens of 3- and 5-Week Concomitant Boost Prone IMRT to Standard 6-Week Breast Radiotherapy.

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Department of Radiation Oncology and Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York University Langone Medical Center New York, NY, USA.



Limited information is available comparing toxicity of accelerated radiotherapy (RT) to that of standard fractionation RT for early stage breast cancer. We report early and late toxicities of two prone regimens of accelerated intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with a concomitant boost (CB) to the tumor bed delivered over 3 or 5 weeks as compared to standard 6 week RT with a sequential electron boost.


From 2/2003 to 12/2007, 169 consecutive patients with Stage I-II breast cancer were offered the choice to undergo prone RT with either: a 6-week standard RT regimen of 46 Gy/23 fractions (fx) to the whole breast (WB), followed by a14 Gy sequential boost (SB) to the tumor bed (6wSB), a 5-week regimen of 50 Gy to WB with an IMRT CB of 6.25 Gy in 25 fx (5wCB); or a 3-week protocol of 40.5 Gy to WB with an IMRT CB of 7.5 Gy in 15 fx (3wCB). These regimens were estimated as biologically equivalent, based on alpha/beta = 4 for tumor control. Toxicities were reported using RTOG and LENT/SOMA scoring.


51/169 patients chose standard 6wSB, 28 selected 5wCB, and 90 enrolled in 3wCB protocol. Maximum acute toxicity was Grade 3 dermatitis in 4% of the patients in the 6wSB compared 1% in 3wCB. In general, acute complications (breast pain, fatigue, and dermatitis) were significantly less in the 3wCB than in the other schedules (P < 0.05). With a median follow-up of 61 months, the only Grade 3 late toxicity was telangiectasia in two patients: one in 3wCB and one in 5wCB group. Notably, fibrosis was comparable among the three groups (P = NS).


These preliminary data suggest that accelerated regimens of breast RT over 3 or 5 weeks in the prone position, with an IMRT tumor bed CB, result in comparable late toxicity to standard fractionation with a sequential tumor boost delivered over 6 weeks. As predicted by radiobiological modeling the shorter regimen was associated with less acute effects.


acute and late toxicity; breast cancer; radiation therapy

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