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      Phase I-II study of hypofractionated simultaneous integrated boost using volumetric modulated arc therapy for adjuvant radiation therapy in breast cancer patients: a report of feasibility and early toxicity results in the first 50 treatments

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          To report results in terms of feasibility and early toxicity of hypofractionated simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) approach with Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) as adjuvant treatment after breast-conserving surgery.


          Between September 2010 and May 2011, 50 consecutive patients presenting early-stage breast cancer were submitted to adjuvant radiotherapy with SIB-VMAT approach using RapidArc in our Institution (Istituto Clinico Humanitas ICH). Three out of 50 patients were irradiated bilaterally (53 tumours in 50 patients). All patients were enrolled in a phase I-II trial approved by the ICH ethical committee. All 50 patients enrolled in the study underwent VMAT-SIB technique to irradiate the whole breast with concomitant boost irradiation of the tumor bed. Doses to whole breast and surgical bed were 40.5 Gy and 48 Gy respectively, delivered in 15 fractions over 3 weeks. Skin toxicities were recorded during and after treatment according to RTOG acute radiation morbidity scoring criteria with a median follow-up of 12 months (range 8–16). Cosmetic outcomes were assessed as excellent/good or fair/poor.


          The median age of the population was 68 years (range 36–88). According to AJCC staging system, 38 breast lesions were classified as pT1, and 15 as pT2; 49 cases were assessed as N0 and 4 as N1. The maximum acute skin toxicity by the end of treatment was Grade 0 in 20/50 patients, Grade 1 in 32/50, Grade 2 in 0 and Grade 3 in 1/50 (one of the 3 cases of bilateral breast irradiation). No Grade 4 toxicities were observed. All Grade 1 toxicities had resolved within 3 weeks. No significant differences in cosmetic scores on baseline assessment vs. 3 months and 6 months after the treatment were observed: all patients were scored as excellent/good (50/50) compared with baseline; no fair/poor judgment was recorded. No other toxicities or local failures were recorded during follow-up.


          The 3-week course of postoperative radiation using VMAT with SIB showed to be feasible and was associated with acceptable acute skin toxicity profile. Long-term follow-up data are needed to assess late toxicity and clinical outcomes.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Volumetric modulated arc therapy: IMRT in a single gantry arc.

          In this work a novel plan optimization platform is presented where treatment is delivered efficiently and accurately in a single dynamically modulated arc. Improvements in patient care achieved through image-guided positioning and plan adaptation have resulted in an increase in overall treatment times. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has also increased treatment time by requiring a larger number of beam directions, increased monitor units (MU), and, in the case of tomotherapy, a slice-by-slice delivery. In order to maintain a similar level of patient throughput it will be necessary to increase the efficiency of treatment delivery. The solution proposed here is a novel aperture-based algorithm for treatment plan optimization where dose is delivered during a single gantry arc of up to 360 deg. The technique is similar to tomotherapy in that a full 360 deg of beam directions are available for optimization but is fundamentally different in that the entire dose volume is delivered in a single source rotation. The new technique is referred to as volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT). Multileaf collimator (MLC) leaf motion and number of MU per degree of gantry rotation is restricted during the optimization so that gantry rotation speed, leaf translation speed, and dose rate maxima do not excessively limit the delivery efficiency. During planning, investigators model continuous gantry motion by a coarse sampling of static gantry positions and fluence maps or MLC aperture shapes. The technique presented here is unique in that gantry and MLC position sampling is progressively increased throughout the optimization. Using the full gantry range will theoretically provide increased flexibility in generating highly conformal treatment plans. In practice, the additional flexibility is somewhat negated by the additional constraints placed on the amount of MLC leaf motion between gantry samples. A series of studies are performed that characterize the relationship between gantry and MLC sampling, dose modeling accuracy, and optimization time. Results show that gantry angle and MLC sample spacing as low as 1 deg and 0.5 cm, respectively, is desirable for accurate dose modeling. It is also shown that reducing the sample spacing dramatically reduces the ability of the optimization to arrive at a solution. The competing benefits of having small and large sample spacing are mutually realized using the progressive sampling technique described here. Preliminary results show that plans generated with VMAT optimization exhibit dose distributions equivalent or superior to static gantry IMRT. Timing studies have shown that the VMAT technique is well suited for on-line verification and adaptation with delivery times that are reduced to approximately 1.5-3 min for a 200 cGy fraction.
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            The UK Standardisation of Breast Radiotherapy (START) Trial A of radiotherapy hypofractionation for treatment of early breast cancer: a randomised trial

            Summary Background The international standard radiotherapy schedule for breast cancer treatment delivers a high total dose in 25 small daily doses (fractions). However, a lower total dose delivered in fewer, larger fractions (hypofractionation) is hypothesised to be at least as safe and effective as the standard treatment. We tested two dose levels of a 13-fraction schedule against the standard regimen with the aim of measuring the sensitivity of normal and malignant tissues to fraction size. Methods Between 1998 and 2002, 2236 women with early breast cancer (pT1-3a pN0-1 M0) at 17 centres in the UK were randomly assigned after primary surgery to receive 50 Gy in 25 fractions of 2·0 Gy versus 41·6 Gy or 39 Gy in 13 fractions of 3·2 Gy or 3·0 Gy over 5 weeks. Women were eligible if they were aged over 18 years, did not have an immediate surgical reconstruction, and were available for follow-up. Randomisation method was computer generated and was not blinded. The protocol-specified principal endpoints were local-regional tumour relapse, defined as reappearance of cancer at irradiated sites, late normal tissue effects, and quality of life. Analysis was by intention to treat. This study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN59368779. Findings 749 women were assigned to the 50 Gy group, 750 to the 41·6 Gy group, and 737 to the 39 Gy group. After a median follow up of 5·1 years (IQR 4·4–6·0) the rate of local-regional tumour relapse at 5 years was 3·6% (95% CI 2·2–5·1) after 50 Gy, 3·5% (95% CI 2·1–4·3) after 41·6 Gy, and 5·2% (95% CI 3·5–6·9) after 39 Gy. The estimated absolute differences in 5-year local-regional relapse rates compared with 50 Gy were 0·2% (95% CI −1·3% to 2·6%) after 41·6 Gy and 0·9% (95% CI −0·8% to 3·7%) after 39 Gy. Photographic and patient self-assessments suggested lower rates of late adverse effects after 39 Gy than with 50 Gy, with an HR for late change in breast appearance (photographic) of 0·69 (95% CI 0·52–0·91, p=0·01). From a planned meta-analysis with the pilot trial, the adjusted estimates of α/β value for tumour control was 4·6 Gy (95% CI 1·1–8·1) and for late change in breast appearance (photographic) was 3·4 Gy (95% CI 2·3–4·5). Interpretation The data are consistent with the hypothesis that breast cancer and the dose-limiting normal tissues respond similarly to change in radiotherapy fraction size. 41·6 Gy in 13 fractions was similar to the control regimen of 50 Gy in 25 fractions in terms of local-regional tumour control and late normal tissue effects, a result consistent with the result of START Trial B. A lower total dose in a smaller number of fractions could offer similar rates of tumour control and normal tissue damage as the international standard fractionation schedule of 50 Gy in 25 fractions.
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              Fractionation for whole breast irradiation: an American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) evidence-based guideline.

              In patients with early-stage breast cancer treated with breast-conserving surgery, randomized trials have found little difference in local control and survival outcomes between patients treated with conventionally fractionated (CF-) whole breast irradiation (WBI) and those receiving hypofractionated (HF)-WBI. However, it remains controversial whether these results apply to all subgroups of patients. We therefore developed an evidence-based guideline to provide direction for clinical practice. A task force authorized by the American Society for Radiation Oncology weighed evidence from a systematic literature review and produced the recommendations contained herein. The majority of patients in randomized trials were aged 50 years or older, had disease Stage pT1-2 pN0, did not receive chemotherapy, and were treated with a radiation dose homogeneity within ±7% in the central axis plane. Such patients experienced equivalent outcomes with either HF-WBI or CF-WBI. Patients not meeting these criteria were relatively underrepresented, and few of the trials reported subgroup analyses. For patients not receiving a radiation boost, the task force favored a dose schedule of 42.5 Gy in 16 fractions when HF-WBI is planned. The task force also recommended that the heart should be excluded from the primary treatment fields (when HF-WBI is used) due to lingering uncertainty regarding late effects of HF-WBI on cardiac function. The task force could not agree on the appropriateness of a tumor bed boost in patients treated with HF-WBI. Data were sufficient to support the use of HF-WBI for patients with early-stage breast cancer who met all the aforementioned criteria. For other patients, the task force could not reach agreement either for or against the use of HF-WBI, which nevertheless should not be interpreted as a contraindication to its use. Copyright © 2011 American Society for Radiation Oncology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Radiat Oncol
                Radiat Oncol
                Radiation Oncology (London, England)
                BioMed Central
                28 August 2012
                : 7
                : 145
                [1 ]Radiotherapy and radiosurgery, Humanitas Cancer Center, Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano, Milano, Italy
                [2 ]Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland, Medical Physics Unit, Bellinzona, Switzerland
                [3 ]Breast Surgery, Humanitas Cancer Center, Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano, Milano, Italy
                [4 ]Medical Oncology, Humanitas Cancer Center, Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano, Milano, Italy
                [5 ]Thoracic Surgery, Humanitas Cancer Center, Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano, Milano, Italy
                Copyright ©2012 Scorsetti et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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