Radiation pneumonitis in breast cancer patients who received radiotherapy using the partially wide tangent technique after breast conserving surgery

Yoonsun Chung, Hong In Yoon, Yong Bae Kim, Seung Kwon Ahn, Ki Chang Keum, Chang Ok Suh

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Purpose: We assessed the risk of radiation pneumonitis (RP) in terms of dosimetric parameters in breast cancer patients, who received radiotherapy using the partially wide tangent technique (PWT), following breast conservation surgery (BCS). Methods:We analyzed the data from 100 breast cancer patients who underwent radiotherapy using PWT. The entire breast, supraclavicular lymph node, and internal mammary lymph node (IMN) were irradiated with 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions. RP was scored on a scale of 0 to 5, based on Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/ European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer toxicity criteria. The dosimetric parameters, used in analysis for the ipsilateral lung, were the mean lung dose (MLD), V 5 (percentage of lung volume that received a dose of 5 Gy or more)-V 50, and normal tissue complication probability (NTCP). Results: Of the 100 patients, three suffered from symptomatic RP (symptom grade ≥2), but were relieved by supportive care. The risk of RP was not correlated with the treatment regimen. RP associated mostly with asymptomatic minimal pulmonary radiologic change or mild dry cough developed more frequently in the group with MLD ≥20.5 Gy or NTCP ≥23% than in the group with MLD <20.5 Gy and NTCP <23% (48.6% vs. 25.4%, p=0.018). Conclusion: Dosimetric parameters of MLD and NTCP were correlated with the incidence of RP, but the clinical impact was minimal. We suggest that PWT is a safe technique for the treatment of IMN for BCS patients with low risk of symptomatic RP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-343
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Breast Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sep 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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