1. Department of Radiation Oncology, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong, P.R. China;
2. Breast Tumor Center, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong, P.R. China;
3. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Medical Research Center, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong, P.R. China;
4. Department of Radiation Oncology, the Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510150, Guangdong, P.R. China;
5. Department of Radiation Oncology, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center of Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou 510060, Guangdong, P.R. China.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: Tangential irradiation is the most popular postoperative radiotherapy technique for breast cancer. However, irradiation has been related to symptomatic radiation pneumonitis (SRP), which decreases the quality of life of patients. This study investigated the clinical features and dosimetric parameters related to SRP of the ipsilateral lung to identify risk factors for SRP in breast cancer patients after three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) with tangential fields.
Material and Methods: A total of 515 breast cancer patients were evaluated and divided into two groups: the local-regional irradiation group (259 patients) and the simple local irradiation group (256 patients). Clinical symptoms were registered and patient data collected. The relationship between the incidence of SRP and dosimetric parameters for the ipsilateral lung was assessed within 6 months after 3D-CRT. Dosimetric parameters were compared using t tests. The dosimetric predictors for SRP were estimated using a logistic regression model and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.
Results: In total, 19 patients (3.7%) developed grade 2 SRP. In the local-regional irradiation group, the probability of SRP in the lung body was greater than that in the lung apex (3.9% vs. 1.5%). V20 and V30 were independent predictors for SRP in the local-regional irradiation group (odds ratio = 1.152 and 1.439, both p = 0.030), whereas only V20 was an independent predictor of SRP in the simple local irradiation group (odds ratio = 1.351, p = 0.001). With 39.8% as the optimal threshold for V20 and 25.7% for V30 for local-regional irradiation, SRP could be predicted with an accuracy of 80.3% and 79.9%, a sensitivity of 61.5% and 69.2%, and a specificity of 81.3% and 80.5%, respectively. With 20.2% as the optimal V20 threshold for simple local irradiation, SRP could be predicted with an accuracy of 88.7%, a sensitivity of 83.3% and a specificity of 89.6%.
Conclusions: SRP has become a rare complication with mild symptoms and occurs mainly in the lung body. V20 and V30 may be useful dosimetric predictors to evaluate SRP risk of the ipsilateral lung in breast cancer.
Keywords: Breast cancer, Radiation pneumonitis, Radiotherapy, Tangential irradiation.