[Radiotherapy of breast cancer]

Cancer Radiother. 2016 Sep;20 Suppl:S139-46. doi: 10.1016/j.canrad.2016.07.025. Epub 2016 Aug 10.
[Article in French]


In breast cancer, radiotherapy is an essential component of the treatment. After conservative surgery for an infiltrating carcinoma, radiotherapy must be systematically performed, regardless of the characteristics of the disease, because it decreases the rate of local recurrence and by this way, specific mortality. Partial breast irradiation could not be proposed routinely but only in very selected and informed patients. For ductal carcinoma in situ, adjuvant radiotherapy must be also systematically performed after lumpectomy. After mastectomy, chest wall irradiation is required for pT3-T4 tumours and if there is an axillary nodal involvement, whatever the number of involved lymph nodes. After neo-adjuvant chemotherapy and mastectomy, in case of pN0 disease, chest wall irradiation is recommended if there is a clinically or radiologically T3-T4 or node positive disease before chemotherapy. Axillary irradiation is recommended only if there is no axillary surgical dissection and a positive sentinel lymph node. Supra and infra-clavicular irradiation is advised in case of positive axillary nodes. Internal mammary irradiation must be discussed case by case, according to the benefit/risk ratio (cardiac toxicity). Dose to the chest wall or the breast must be between 45-50Gy with a conventional fractionation. A boost dose over the tumour bed is required if the patient is younger than 60 years old. Hypofractionation (42.5 Gy in 16 fractions, or 41.6 Gy en 13 or 40 Gy en 15) is possible after tumorectomy and if a nodal irradiation is not mandatory. Delineation of the breast, the chest wall and the nodal areas are based on clinical and radiological evaluations. 3D-conformal irradiation is the recommended technique, intensity-modulated radiotherapy must be proposed only in case of specific clinical situations. Respiratory gating could be useful to decrease the cardiac dose. Concomitant administration of chemotherapy in unadvised, but hormonal treatment could be start with radiotherapy.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Cancer du sein; Practical guidelines; Radiotherapy; Radiothérapie; Recommandations pratiques.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / surgery
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • Female
  • Heart / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Irradiation
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Mastectomy, Segmental
  • Middle Aged
  • Organs at Risk
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / standards
  • Radiotherapy, Image-Guided / methods
  • Thoracic Wall / radiation effects