Study: Patient selection important for breast brachytherapy

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A recent study published in the September issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics investigated the failure rate associated with breast brachytherapy. The researchers emphasized the importance of patient selection when offering partial breast irradiation from single-institution experience.

Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., examined 70 patients with early-stage breast cancer, who were treated with breast-conserving surgery and accelerated partial breast irradiation using the MammoSite (Cytyc, Marlborough, Mass.) brachytherapy applicator.

With a median follow-up time of 26.1 months, the researchers identified five treatment failures. There were three in-breast failures more than 2-cm away from the original surgical bed, one failure directly adjacent to the original surgical bed, and one failure in the axilla with synchronous distant metastases.

The crude failure rate was 7.1 percent, the crude local failure rate was 5.7 percent and the estimated progression-free survival at 48 months was 89.8 percent.

According to the American Brachytherapy Society's Breast Brachytherapy Task Group, boost dose delivery to the target with brachytherapy is dependent on the size, shape and location of the lumpectomy cavity in relationship to the size/shape of the breast.