Hypofractionated Radiotherapy as Adjuvant Treatment in Early Breast Cancer. A Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Breast Care (Basel). 2015 Aug;10(4):240-5. doi: 10.1159/000439007. Epub 2015 Aug 19.


Background: Adjuvant radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery is indicated in the vast majority of breast cancer patients. Conventionally fractionated radiotherapy with 50 Gy in 25 fractions was considered standard of care for several decades. The recently publishes long-term results of randomized trials that have tested different moderately hypofractionated radiotherapy schedules that may change clinical practice.

Patients and methods: A Pubmed search was carried out to identify the relevant publications on hypofractionated radiotherapy in breast cancer. In total, 4 randomized controlled trials representing the results of 7,095 patients with 10 years of follow-up were identified. A meta-analysis on the primary end point ipsilateral breast cancer recurrence and a review of the toxicity data were performed.

Results: Moderately hypofractionated radiotherapy using schedules such as 40 Gy in 15 fractions administered within 3 weeks are as efficient and safe as conventionally fractionated radiotherapy for most breast cancer patients who need adjuvant radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery. In patients aged < 40 years, after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and if regional lymph node radiotherapy is indicated, further data are needed.

Conclusion: Moderately hypofractionated radiotherapy can be recommended as standard treatment after breast-conserving surgery in the majority of breast cancer patients.

Keywords: Adjuvant; Breast cancer; Hypofractionated; Hypofractionation; Meta-analysis; Radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review