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Intensity modulated radiotherapy reduces side effects in patients with early breast cancer
Date:4/21/2013

in 3D, then there may well be areas with overly high doses. By modulating the intensity of the radiation beam, IMRT can be used to correct for this and smooth out the dose," said Dr Coles.

The researchers set out to see whether the effect of using IMRT in those patients who would have received a dose greater than 107% to parts of their breast with 2DRT would translate into clinical benefit. IMRT planning uses results from scans to determine the dose intensity that will best treat the tumour, and therefore is more complex and time-consuming than 2DRT planning, so there was an important need to see a clear advantage to patients from the use of the procedure.

The only previous study looking at this was much smaller, and rather than picking out all patients with doses greater than 107% and randomising them, it only included women with larger breasts who are already known to be more likely to have regions of dose above the upper limit. "Our trial was more inclusive as all women were able to take part and we could quantify those who would receive an uneven dose," said Dr Coles.

"We saw that fewer patients in the IMRT group developed skin telangiectasia (dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin), and the overall cosmetic effect in the breast was better," she said. Although there was no significant difference between the two groups in breast shrinkage, breast oedema, breast induration (hardening), and pigmentation changes, the benefits of using IMRT in these patients were clear.

The researchers intend to follow up their work by analysing the patients' questionnaires to see whether IMRT has an influence on quality of life. The trial has also contributed 1000 blood samples to the UK translational research study RAPPER (Radiogenomics: Assessment of Polymorphisms for Predicting the Effects of Radiotherapy), which aims to ultimately develop individualised radiotherapy plans based on the analysis of individual patients' genetics.<
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary.rice@riceconseil.eu
European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO)
Source:Eurekalert

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