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Radiat Oncol. 2014 Jul 22;9:161. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-9-161.

IMRT sparing of normal tissues in locoregional treatment of breast cancer.

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Department of Radiation Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, 501, Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON K1H8L6, Canada.



This clinical study was designed to prospectively evaluate the acute and moderately-late cardiac and lung toxicities of intensity modulated radiation therapy delivered by helical tomotherapy (IMRT-HT) for locoregional breast radiation treatment including the internal mammary nodes (IMN).


30 patients with stage III breast cancers have been accrued in this study. All patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. Target volumes were defined as follows: the PTV included breast/chest wall, axillary level II, III, infra/supraclavicular, IM nodes CTVs plus 3 mm margins. The heart with subunits and the lungs were defined as critical organs. Dose to PTV was 50 Gy in 25 fractions. Acute toxicities were assessed every week and 2 weeks post treatment using the CTCAE v3.0.scale. The moderately-late toxicities were assessed clinically plus by cardiac myoview perfusion tests scheduled at baseline, 3 and 12-month follow-up, as well a CT chest at the 6 month follow-up. The data analysis is descriptive.


All participants completed the 5-week course of radiation without interruption. Skin erythema was modest and mainly grade 1-2 between the 3rd and the 5th week of radiation treatment. Only 4/30 patients experienced grade 3 skin reactions, mostly seen 2 weeks post radiation. Only 5 patients demonstrated grade 1 or 2 dyspnea, but 3 of them already had symptoms pre-radiation treatment. With a median follow-up of 58 (24-76) months, there have been infrequent moderately-late side effects. Most were grade 1 and were sometimes present at the baseline assessment. Cardiac myoview tests done at baseline and 1-year follow-up for 15 out of 18 left sided breast cancers did not show any abnormalities related to radiation. The 6-month follow-up chest CT-scans done for 25 out of 30 patients showed minimal anterior lung fibrosis for 7 patients and were completely normal for the other 18. No locoregional recurrence has been recorded and the 5-year survival is 78% (95% CI: 70-97%).


IMRT-HT for locoregional breast radiation is very well tolerated with minimal acute or moderately-late side effects. Cardiac and respiratory tests did not show any strong evidence of significant treatment related abnormalities.


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