Background and purpose: Randomized studies have shown that adding hyperthermia (HT) to re-irradiation (re-RT) improves treatment outcome for patients with breast cancer recurrences. We evaluated the efficacy and side effects in patients treated with re-RT and HT for irresectable locoregional breast cancer recurrences.
Material and methods: From September 1996 to December 2011, 248 patients with a macroscopic breast cancer recurrence were treated with re-RT and HT. Radiotherapy (RT) was applied to a dose of 32 Gy in 4 Gy fractions, twice weekly. HT was prescribed once weekly after RT. Primary endpoints for this analysis were complete response (CR) and local control (LC). Secondary endpoints were overall survival (OS), and toxicity. Patient-, tumor-, and treatment-related characteristics predictive for the endpoints were identified in univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: The median follow-up period was 32 months. The CR rate was 70%. At 1, 3, and 5 years LC was 53%, 40% and 39%, and OS was 66%, 32%, and 18%, respectively. OS after 10 years was 10%. Thermal burns developed in 23% patients, healing with conservative measures. The incidence of 5 years late grade 3 toxicity was 1%. A few patients survived more than 10 years without evidence of disease.
Conclusions: The combination of re-RT and HT results in a high rate of long-term LC with acceptable late toxicity, and many patients remained locally controlled for the rest of their survival period.
Keywords: Breast cancer recurrence; Complete response; Hyperthermia; Local control; Re-irradiation; Toxicity.
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