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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2019 Jul 15;104(4):877-884. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.03.029. Epub 2019 Mar 27.

Photons Without Bolus Versus Electrons With Bolus After Upfront Mastectomy Without Immediate Reconstruction in Breast Cancer Patients.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Institut Curie, Paris-St Cloud, France.
Department of Biostatistics, Institut Curie, Paris-St Cloud, France.
Department of Surgical Oncology, Institut Curie, Paris, France.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Institut Curie, Paris-St Cloud, France. Electronic address:



To evaluate locoregional control and outcome after mastectomy in patients treated with postmastectomy highly conformal electron radiation therapy (PMERT) with bolus compared with patients treated by highly conformal photon radiation therapy (PMPhRT) without bolus in the adjuvant setting of nonmetastatic breast cancer.


We studied women undergoing PMRT without immediate reconstruction for breast cancer before 2012 in 2 sites of our hospital using 2 different techniques. All patients received 50 Gy in 25 fractions. Patients previously treated by neoadjuvant chemotherapy were excluded.


Among the 807 patients, 583 received PMERT and 224 received PMPhRT. The median follow-up was 64 months. Patients in the PMERT group had a median age of 52.7 years (range, 26-91 years), 6.9% were triple-negative, 16.3% were HER2-positive, and 58.6% had multifocal lesions. Patients in the PMPhRT group had a median age of 56.4 years (28-89), 8.5% were triple negative, 12.9% were HER2-positive, and 55.8% had multifocal lesions. Lymph node involvement was observed in 66% and 72.8% of cases (P = .07) treated with PMERT and PMPhRT, respectively. No significant difference in overall survival was observed between the 2 groups (hazard ratio [HR], 1.2; 95% CI, 0.67-2.13; P = .54). The risk of locoregional recurrence, estimated using the Fine-Gray method, was significantly higher with PMPhRT than with PMERT (subdistribution HR, 3.62; 95% CI, 1.07-12.3; P = .04), corresponding to a 5-year LRR rate of 0.53% (95% CI, 0-1.12%) for PMERT and 2.52% (95% CI, 0.05%-4.6%) for PMPhRT.


A higher risk of local recurrence was observed in the PMPhRT without bolus group compared with the PMERT with bolus group. Prospective randomized trials are needed to confirm these findings.

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