Effect of laser therapy on quality of life in patients with radiation-induced breast telangiectasias

Lasers Surg Med. 2018 Apr;50(4):284-290. doi: 10.1002/lsm.22780. Epub 2017 Dec 20.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of laser monotherapy on quality of life in breast cancer patients with chronic radiation dermatitis.

Study design: A prospective, IRB-approved study was conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Breast cancer patients with chronic radiation dermatitis completed health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) questionnaires before and after laser monotherapy for radiation-induced breast telangiectasias (RIBT).

Methods: After informed consent, all patients were issued the Skindex-16 and Breast-Q Adverse Effects of Radiation HR-QOL questionnaires prior to receiving laser treatment. Patients were treated with a 595 nm pulsed dye laser at 4- to 6-week intervals, with percent telangiectasia clearance and adverse events recorded at each visit. Post-treatment HR-QOL questionnaires were collected after clinician-assessed telangiectasia clearance of >50%. Median HR-QOL scores before and after therapy were reported for individual HR-QOL domains (Skindex-16) and HR-QOL totals (Skindex-16 and Breast-Q Adverse Effects of Radiation). Before- and after-differences were calculated using the Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test.

Results: Twenty-two female patients (average age 56 years) enrolled in this study. A majority (13/22, 59%) exhibited telangiectasias across the décolletage and axilla in addition to the breast. Sixteen patients reached the 50% RIBT clearance threshold during the study period, and 11 of these patients (69%) completed follow-up HR-QOL questionnaires. Patients showed statistically significant improvements in emotional and functional Skindex-16 HR-QOL domains and in overall Skindex-16 HR-QOL score. Breast-Q scores also improved significantly, illustrating a decrease in specific physical and cosmetic concerns common to radiated breast skin. Common adverse events were transient post-treatment pain and redness.

Conclusion: Breast cancer patients with RIBT presented with substantial deficits in several HR-QOL arenas. Laser monotherapy effectively treated the appearance of radiation dermatitis in these patients and also significantly improved HR-QOL. Lasers Surg. Med. 50:284-290, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: breast cancer; health related quality of life; pulsed dye laser; radiation dermatitis; telangiectasias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Cancer Care Facilities
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Dye*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Radiodermatitis / diagnosis
  • Radiodermatitis / psychology
  • Radiodermatitis / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Telangiectasis / etiology
  • Telangiectasis / radiotherapy
  • Treatment Outcome