The relationship between radiation doses to coronary arteries and location of coronary stenosis requiring intervention in breast cancer survivors

Radiat Oncol. 2019 Mar 7;14(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s13014-019-1242-z.


Background: To assess the relationship between radiation doses to the coronary arteries (CAs) and location of a coronary stenosis that required intervention after three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) for breast cancer (BC).

Methods: The study population consisted of 182 women treated for BC in Sweden between 1992 and 2012. All women received 3DCRT and subsequently underwent coronary angiography due to a suspected coronary event. CA segments were delineated in the patient's original planning-CT and radiation doses were recalculated based on the dose distribution of the original radiotherapy (RT) plan. The location of the CA stenosis that required intervention was identified from the Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Registry (SCAAR). Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between CA radiation doses and risk of a later coronary intervention at this specific location.

Results: The odds ratio (OR) varied by radiation dose to the mid left anterior descending artery (LAD) (p = 0.005). Women receiving mean doses of 1-5 Gray (Gy) to the mid LAD had an adjusted OR of 0.90 (95% CI 0.47-1.74) for a later coronary intervention compared to women receiving mean doses of 0-1 Gy to the mid LAD. In women receiving mean doses of 5-20 Gy to the mid LAD, an adjusted OR of 1.24 (95% CI 0.52-2.95) was observed, which increased to an OR of 5.23 (95% CI 2.01-13.6) for mean doses over 20 Gy, when compared to women receiving mean doses of 0-1 Gy to the mid LAD.

Conclusions: In women receiving conventional 3DCRT for BC between 1992 and 2012, radiation doses to the LAD remained high and were associated with an increased requirement of coronary intervention in mid LAD. The results support that the LAD radiation dose should be considered in RT treatment planning and that the dose should be kept as low as possible. Minimising the dose to LAD is expected to diminish the risk of later radiation-induced stenosis.

Keywords: 3DCRT; Breast cancer; Coronary stenosis; Left anterior descending artery; Radiation doses; Radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Cancer Survivors
  • Coronary Stenosis / etiology*
  • Coronary Vessels / radiation effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Injuries*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal / adverse effects*