Purpose: Radiation pneumonitis (RP) is one of the most severe toxicities experienced by patients with breast cancer after radiotherapy (RT). RT fractionation schemes and techniques for breast cancer have undergone numerous changes over the past decades. This study aimed to investigate the incidence of RP as a function of such changes in patients with breast cancer undergoing RT and to identify dosimetric markers that predict the risk of this adverse event. Methods and Materials: We identified 1,847 women with breast cancer who received adjuvant RT at our institution between 2015 and 2017. The RT technique was individually tailored based on each patient's clinicopathological features. Deep inspiration breath hold technique or prone positioning were used for patients who underwent left whole-breast irradiation for cardiac sparing, while those requiring regional lymph node irradiation underwent volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT). Results: Of 1,847 patients who received RT, 21.2% received the conventional dose scheme, while 78.8% received the hypofractionated dose scheme (mostly 40 Gy in 15 fractions). The median follow-up period was 14.5 months, and the overall RP rate was 2.1%. The irradiated organ at risk was corrected concerning biologically equivalent dose. The ipsilateral lung V30 in equivalent dose in 2 Gy (EQD2) was the most significant dosimetric factor associated with RP development. Administering RT using VMAT, and hypofractionated dose scheme significantly reduced ipsilateral lung V30. Conclusions: Application of new RT techniques and hypofractionated scheme significantly reduce the ipsilateral lung dose. Our data demonstrated that ipsilateral lung V30 in EQD2 is the most relevant dosimetric predictor of RP in patients with breast cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research