Reducing radiation dermatitis in breast cancer

April 17, 2008

A method that delivers radiation more homogeneously to the breast reduces the occurrence of acute radiation dermatitis in women with breast cancer, according to a report published online Feb. 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

A method that delivers radiation more homogeneously to the breast reduces the occurrence of acute radiation dermatitis in women with breast cancer, according to a report published online Feb. 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Jean-Philippe Pignol, MD, PhD, from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned 358 women with breast cancer to breast intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or standard radiotherapy using wedges.

The researchers found that radiation dose distribution was significantly more homogeneous with IMRT, leading to fewer patients with moist desquamation in the 6 weeks after radiation treatment (31.2% vs. 47.8%). Smaller breasts and breast IMRT were significantly associated with a reduced risk of moist desquamation. The presence of moist desquamation, but not IMRT, was significantly correlated with pain and quality of life.

“Breast IMRT significantly reduced the occurrence of moist desquamation compared with a standard wedged technique,” Pignol and colleagues conclude.

Pignol JP, Olivotto I, Rakovitch E, et al. A Multicenter Randomized Trial of Breast Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy to Reduce Acute Radiation Dermatitis. J Clin Oncol. 2008. Published online at 10.1200/JCO.2007.15.2488.