Lung Restriction in Patients With Breast Cancer After Hypofractionated and Conventional Radiation Therapy: a 10-year Follow-up

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Previous studies in patients with breast cancer have shown acute radiation therapy-induced reductions of pulmonary diffusing capacity, essentially owing to lung volume restriction. We aimed to assess the long-term effect of 2 radiation therapy regimens, which differed in terms of radiation technique and dose fractionation, on lung function.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: From a randomized controlled trial comparing conventional 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (CR) and hypofractionated tomotherapy (TT), 84 patients with breast cancer (age at inclusion 54 ± 10 [standard deviation] years) could be assessed at baseline, after 3 months, and after 1, 2, 3, and 10 years. Measurements included forced vital capacity, total lung capacity (TLC), and diffusing capacity (TLco).

RESULTS: Radiation therapy-induced lung function changes over 10 years (Δ) were similar for both treatment arms, and in a patient subgroup with negligible history of respiratory disease or smoking (n = 57) these averaged: Δ forced vital capacity = -13 (± 9) percent predicted; ΔTLco = -14 (± 12) percent predicted; and ΔTLC = -11 (± 9) percent predicted. The only significant correlation was between V20 (lung volume exposed to dose exceeding 20 Gy) and ΔTLco (rho = -0.36; P = .007). In this subgroup, as well as in the entire patient cohort, the incurred pulmonary restriction in terms of TLC and TLco showed a greater decline at 3 months for CR versus TT. However, at 10 years, no significant difference could be detected between CR and TT (P = .9 for TLC and P = .2 for TLco in the entire patient cohort). Of the patients with normal TLC and TLco at baseline (ie, above lower limits of normal), respectively 94% and 96% were still normal 10 years later.

CONCLUSIONS: In women with breast cancer, conventional 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy and hypofractionated tomotherapy induce similar restrictive lung patterns during the course of a 10-year period, despite some treatment-dependent differences in the first 3 months. The large majority of women with normal lung function at baseline maintained a normal lung function status 10 years after radiation therapy, irrespective of treatment arm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-569
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
Volume113
Issue number3
Early online date25 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

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Keywords

  • diffusing capacity
  • early breast cancer
  • long term follow up
  • radiotherapy
  • restriction

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