Cosmetic assessment in brachytherapy (interventional radiotherapy) for breast cancer: A multidisciplinary review

Brachytherapy. 2019 Sep-Oct;18(5):635-644. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2019.03.009. Epub 2019 Jun 3.


Purpose: This review was to focus on breast brachytherapy cosmetic assessment methods state of the art and to define the advantages and disadvantages related to.

Methods and materials: We conducted a literature review of the major experience on breast brachytherapy cosmetic assessment methods in several databases (PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases). To identify the relevant works, a task force screened citations at title and abstract level to identify potentially relevant paper. An expert board reviewed and approved the text. The assessment systems were classified into three main groups: (1) the Oncological Toxicity Scales, (2) the Independent Patients Perspective Measures, (3) the Patient-Related Outcome Measures. Each cosmetic assessment method was evaluated following six parameters: (1) anatomical site, (2) advantages, (3) disadvantages, (4) subjective/objective, (5) quantitative/qualitative, (6) computers or pictures needs.

Results: Eleven assessment methods were selected. Three methods were classified as Oncological Toxicity Scale, six in the Independent Patients Perspective Measures classification, and two as Patient-Related Outcome Measures. Six methods are subjective, while eight are objective. Four systems are classified as quantitative, four as qualitative while three both. Five systems need informatics support. Moreover, each method was discussed individually reporting the main characteristics and peculiarities.

Conclusions: Cosmesis is one major end point for the patient who has a malignancy of low lethal potential. In modern personalized medicine, there is a need for standardized cosmetic outcome assessments to analyze and compare the results of treatments. No gold standard methods currently exist. The result of this review is to summarize the various cosmesis methods, defining the strengths and weaknesses of each one and giving a line in research and clinical practice.

Keywords: Brachytherapy; Breast; Cosmesis; Cosmetic assessment; Interventional; Radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy* / adverse effects
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Esthetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Research
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Radiology, Interventional