Purpose: To report interim cosmetic results and toxicity from a prospective study evaluating accelerated partial-breast irradiation (APBI) administered using a highly conformal external beam approach.
Methods and materials: We enrolled breast cancer patients in an institutional review board-approved prospective study of APBI using beamlet intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) at deep-inspiration breath-hold. Patients received 38.5 Gy in 3.85 Gy fractions twice daily. Dosimetric parameters in patients who maintained acceptable cosmesis were compared with those in patients developing unacceptable cosmesis in follow-up, using t-tests.
Results: Thirty-four patients were enrolled; 2 were excluded from analysis because of fair baseline cosmesis. With a median follow-up of 2.5 years, new unacceptable cosmesis developed in 7 patients, leading to early study closure. We compared patients with new unacceptable cosmesis with those with consistently acceptable cosmesis. Retrospective analysis demonstrated that all but one plan adhered to the dosimetric requirements of the national APBI trial. The mean proportion of a whole-breast reference volume receiving 19.25 Gy (V50) was lower in patients with acceptable cosmesis than in those with unacceptable cosmesis (34.6% vs. 46.1%; p = 0.02). The mean percentage of this reference volume receiving 38.5 Gy (V100) was also lower in patients with acceptable cosmesis (15.5% vs. 23.0%; p = 0.02).
Conclusions: The hypofractionated schedule and parameters commonly used for external beam APBI and prescribed by the ongoing national trial may be suboptimal, at least when highly conformal techniques such as IMRT with management of breathing motion are used. The V50 and V100 of the breast reference volume seem correlated with cosmetic outcome, and stricter limits may be appropriate in this setting.