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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1996 Oct 1;36(3):731-7.

Treatment planning for primary breast cancer: a patterns of care study.

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1
Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York, NY.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The 1989 Patterns of Care Study included treatment planning for early breast cancer. A Consensus Committee of radiation physicists and oncologists determined current guidelines and developed questionnaires to determine treatment planning and delivery processes used by the participating institutions (e.g., use of portal films). This article presents and analyzes the results of that survey.

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

The survey included 449 respondents, distributed as follows: 136 (30%) from Strata I (academic facilities); 169 (38%) from Strata II (hospital based facilities); and 144 (32%) from Strata III (freestanding facilities). The treatment planning procedures surveyed included: whether individualized tissue compensators are used, whether inhomogeneity corrections are used in dose calculations, the use of computerized tomography, whether isodose distributions for external beam tangents and interstitial implants are generated, the use of lymphoscintigraphy, immobilization devices, simulations, portal films, etc.

RESULTS:

The survey results demonstrated that out of 305 patients from Strata I and II institutions, 237 (78%) had simulated tangential fields. Consistent with this finding is that 76% of patients from Strata I and II institutions were immobilized, while only 51% of Strata III patients were. Moreover, only 18 out of the 449 (4%) of cases did not have any type of external beam dose distribution calculated--presumably, in these cases missing tissue compensation would be unlikely. On the other hand, 41% of the Strata II, 27% of Strata III, but only 19% of Strata I (p < 0.0002) cases received CT. Surprisingly, 19% of the Strata I, 35% of the Strata II, and 25% of the Strata III (p = 0.0011) patients received lymphoscintigraphy, perhaps reflecting the use of wide tangents to encompass the internal mammary nodes in these patients. In terms of optimizing treatments, 74% of Strata I, 70% of Strata II, and 78% of Strata III patients had wedges used on both tangential fields, although in 5, 12, and 14%, respectively, no beam modification of any sort was used. Furthermore, it should be noted that in 7% of the Strata I, 23% of Strata II, and 37% of Strata III cases there was no attempt to reduce the divergence of the tangential fields into the lung. On the other hand, if one considers the 135 (of 449) patients where matching of the tangential and supraclavicular fields was applicable, 41% of Strata I, 22% of Strata II and 46% of Strata III patients had those fields matched in a vertical plane, which would involve sophisticated alignment procedures. Quality control of treatment delivery was high: 97% of all surveyed received portal films at least once. The use of thermoluminescent dosimetry (TLD) to measure the dose to the contralateral breast was of little interest: only 4 of the 305 Strata I and II patients received in vivo measurements.

CONCLUSIONS:

This national survey has established the patterns of treatment planning for early breast cancer. It shows a generally consistent approach-although a number of statistically significant variations have been identified.

PMID:
8948359
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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