Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for late radiation-induced tissue toxicity: prospectively patient-reported outcome measures in breast cancer patients

Radiat Oncol. 2016 Sep 29;11(1):130. doi: 10.1186/s13014-016-0700-0.


Introduction: This study examines patient reported outcome measures of women undergoing hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) after breast-conserving therapy.

Method: Included were 57 women treated with HBOT for late radiation-induced tissue toxicity (LRITT) referred in the period January 2014-December 2015. HBOT consisted of (on average) 47 sessions. In total, 80 min of 100 % O2 was administered under increased pressure of 2.4 ATA. Quality of life was assessed before and after treatment using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-BR23, and a NRS pain score.

Results: Fifty-seven women were available for evaluation before and after treatment. Before HBOT, patients had severe complaints of pain in the arm/shoulder (46 %), swollen arm/hand (14 %), difficulty to raise arm or move it sideways (45 %), pain in the area of the affected breast (67 %), swollen area of the affected breast (45 %), oversensitivity of the affected breast (54 %), and skin problems on/in the area of the affected breast (32 %); post HBOT, severe complaints were still experienced in 17, 7, 22, 15, 13, 15, and 11 % of the women, respectively. Differences were all significant. The NRS pain score improved at least 1 point (range 0-10) in 81 % of the patients (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: In these breast cancer patients treated with HBOT for LRITT, the patient-reported outcomes were positive and improvements were observed. HBOT was a well-tolerated treatment for LRITT and its side-effects were both minimal and reversible.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Fibrosis; Pain; Radiation toxicity; Radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation / methods*
  • Mastectomy, Segmental
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Oxygen / therapeutic use
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiation Injuries / physiopathology
  • Radiation Injuries / psychology
  • Radiation Injuries / therapy*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Oxygen