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      Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management (submit here)

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      Radiation dose to the nodal regions during prone versus supine breast irradiation


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          Prone positioning for breast radiotherapy is preferable when the aim is a reduction of the dose to the ipsilateral lung or the heart in certain left-sided cases.

          Materials and methods

          In 100 breast cancer cases awaiting postoperative whole-breast radiotherapy, conformal radiotherapy plans were prospectively generated in both prone and supine positions. The axillary nodal region (levels I–III) and internal mammary (IM) lymph-node region in the upper three intercostal spaces were retrospectively contoured. The mean doses to the nodal regions and the volume receiving 25 Gy (V 25Gy), V 45Gy, and V 47.5Gy were compared between the two treatment positions.


          In most cases, the doses to axillary levels I–III and the IM lymph nodes were inadequate, regardless of the treatment position. The nodal doses were significantly lower in the prone than in the supine position. The radiation doses to levels II–III and IM nodes were especially low. The V 45Gy and V 47.5Gy of the level I axillary lymph nodes were 54.6% and 40.2%, respectively, in the supine, and 3.0% and 1.7%, respectively, in the prone position. In the supine position, only 17 patients (17%) received a mean dose of 45 Gy to the axillary level I nodes.


          The radiation dose to the axillary and IM lymph nodes during breast radiotherapy is therapeutically insufficient in most cases, and is significantly lower in the prone position than in the supine position.

          Most cited references28

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          Locoregional radiation therapy in patients with high-risk breast cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy: 20-year results of the British Columbia randomized trial.

          The British Columbia randomized radiation trial was designed to determine the survival impact of locoregional radiation therapy in premenopausal patients with lymph node-positive breast cancer treated by modified radical mastectomy and adjuvant chemotherapy. Three hundred eighteen patients were assigned to receive no further therapy or radiation therapy (37.5 Gy in 16 fractions). Previous analysis at the 15-year follow-up showed that radiation therapy was associated with a statistically significant improvement in breast cancer survival but that improvement in overall survival was of only borderline statistical significance. We report the analysis of data from the 20-year follow-up. Survival was analyzed by the Kaplan-Meier method. Relative risk estimates were calculated by the Wald test from the proportional hazards regression model. All statistical tests were two-sided. At the 20 year follow up (median follow up for live patients: 249 months) chemotherapy and radiation therapy, compared with chemotherapy alone, were associated with a statistically significant improvement in all end points analyzed, including survival free of isolated locoregional recurrences (74% versus 90%, respectively; relative risk [RR] = 0.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.18 to 0.71; P = .002), systemic relapse-free survival (31% versus 48%; RR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.49 to 0.88; P = .004), breast cancer-free survival (48% versus 30%; RR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.47 to 0.83; P = .001), event-free survival (35% versus 25%; RR = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.54 to 0.92; P = .009), breast cancer-specific survival (53% versus 38%; RR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.49 to 0.90; P = .008), and, in contrast to the 15-year follow-up results, overall survival (47% versus 37%; RR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.55 to 0.98; P = .03). Long-term toxicities, including cardiac deaths (1.8% versus 0.6%), were minimal for both arms. For patients with high-risk breast cancer treated with modified radical mastectomy, treatment with radiation therapy (schedule of 16 fractions) and adjuvant chemotherapy leads to better survival outcomes than chemotherapy alone, and it is well tolerated, with acceptable long-term toxicity.
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            Ten-year survival results of a randomized trial of irradiation of internal mammary nodes after mastectomy.

            To evaluate the efficacy of irradiation of internal mammary nodes (IMN) on 10-year overall survival in breast cancer patients after mastectomy. This multicenter phase 3 study enrolled patients with positive axillary nodes (pN+) or central/medial tumors with or without pN+. Other inclusion criteria were age <75 and a Karnofsky index ≥70. All patients received postoperative irradiation of the chest wall and supraclavicular nodes and were randomly assigned to receive IMN irradiation or not. Randomization was stratified by tumor location (medial/central or lateral), axillary lymph node status, and adjuvant therapy (chemotherapy vs no chemotherapy). The prescribed dose of irradiation to the target volumes was 50 Gy or equivalent. The first 5 intercostal spaces were included in the IMN target volume, and two-thirds of the dose (31.5 Gy) was given by electrons. The primary outcome was overall survival at 10 years. Disease-free survival and toxicity were secondary outcomes. T total of 1334 patients were analyzed after a median follow-up of 11.3 years among the survivors. No benefit of IMN irradiation on the overall survival could be demonstrated: the 10-year overall survival was 59.3% in the IMN-nonirradiated group versus 62.6% in the IMN-irradiated group (P=.8). According to stratification factors, we defined 6 subgroups (medial/central or lateral tumor, pN0 [only for medial/central] or pN+, and chemotherapy or not). In all these subgroups, IMN irradiation did not significantly improve overall survival. In patients treated with 2-dimensional techniques, we failed to demonstrate a survival benefit for IMN irradiation. This study cannot rule out a moderate benefit, especially with more modern, conformal techniques applied to a higher risk population. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Prone versus supine positioning for whole and partial-breast radiotherapy: a comparison of non-target tissue dosimetry.

              To compare non-target tissue (including left-anterior-descending coronary-artery (LAD)) dosimetry of prone versus supine whole (WBI) and partial-breast irradiation (PBI). Sixty-five post-lumpectomy breast cancer patients underwent CT-imaging supine and prone. On each dataset, the whole-breast clinical-target-volume (WB-CTV), partial-breast CTV (tumour-bed + 15 mm), ipsilateral-lung and chest-wall were outlined. Heart and LAD were outlined in left-sided cases (n=30). Tangential-field WBI and PBI plans were generated for each position. Mean LAD, heart, and ipsilateral-lung doses (x(mean)), maximum LAD (LAD(max)) doses, and the volume of chest-wall receiving 50 Gy (V(50Gy)) were compared. Two-hundred and sixty plans were generated. Prone positioning reduced heart and LAD doses in 19/30 WBI cases (median reduction in LAD(mean)=6.2 Gy) and 7/30 PBI cases (median reduction in LAD(max)=29.3 Gy) (no difference in 4/30 cases). However, prone positioning increased cardiac doses in 8/30 WBI (median increase in LAD(mean)=9.5 Gy) and 19/30 PBI cases (median increase in LAD(max)=22.9 Gy) (no difference in 3/30 cases). WB-CTV>1000cm(3) was associated with improved cardiac dosimetry in the prone position for WBI (p=0.04) and PBI (p=0.04). Prone positioning reduced ipsilateral-lung(mean) in 65/65 WBI and 61/65 PBI cases, and chest-wall V(50Gy) in all WBI cases. PBI reduced normal-tissue doses compared to WBI in all cases, regardless of the treatment position. In the context of tangential-field WBI and PBI, prone positioning is likely to benefit left-breast-affected women of larger breast volume, but to be detrimental in left-breast-affected women of smaller breast volume. Right-breast-affected women are likely to benefit from prone positioning regardless of breast volume. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                21 May 2014
                : 10
                : 367-372
                Department of Oncotherapy, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Zoltán Varga, Department of Oncotherapy, University of Szeged, 12 Korányi Fasor, Szeged 6720, Hungary, Tel +36 62 545 404, Fax +36 62 545 922, Email varga.zoltan@ 123456med.u-szeged.hu
                © 2014 Csenki et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                axillary lymph nodes,breast radiotherapy,internal mammary nodes,prone positioning,supine positioning


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