The most appropriate dose fractionation for whole-breast irradiation (WBI) remains uncertain.
To assess acute and 6-month toxic effects and quality of life (QOL) with conventionally fractionated WBI (CF-WBI) vs hypofractionated WBI (HF-WBI).
Design, Setting, and Participants
Unblinded randomized trial of CF-WBI (n = 149; 50.00 Gy/25 fractions + boost [10.00-14.00 Gy/5-7 fractions]) vs HF-WBI (n = 138; 42.56 Gy/16 fractions + boost [10.00-12.50 Gy/4-5 fractions]) following breast-conserving surgery administered in community-based and academic cancer centers to 287 women 40 years or older with stage 0 to II breast cancer for whom WBI without addition of a third field was recommended; 76% of study participants (n = 217) were overweight or obese. Patients were enrolled from February 2011 through February 2014 and observed for a minimum of 6 months.
Administration of CF-WBI or HF-WBI.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Physician-reported acute and 6-month toxic effects using National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria, and patient-reported QOL using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy for Patients with Breast Cancer (FACT-B). All analyses were intention to treat, with outcomes compared using the χ2 test, Cochran-Armitage test, and ordinal logistic regression.
Of 287 participants, 149 were randomized to CF-WBI and 138 to HF-WBI. Treatment arms were well matched for baseline characteristics, including FACT-B total score (HF-WBI, 120.1 vs CF-WBI, 118.8; P = .46) and individual QOL items such as somewhat or more lack of energy (HF-WBI, 38% vs CF-WBI, 39%; P = .86) and somewhat or more trouble meeting family needs (HF-WBI, 10% vs CF-WBI, 14%; P = .54). Maximum physician-reported acute dermatitis (36% vs 69%; P < .001), pruritus (54% vs 81%; P < .001), breast pain (55% vs 74%; P = .001), hyperpigmentation (9% vs 20%; P = .002), and fatigue (9% vs 17%; P = .02) during irradiation were lower in patients randomized to HF-WBI. The rate of overall grade 2 or higher acute toxic effects was less with HF-WBI than with CF-WBI (47% vs 78%; P < .001). Six months after irradiation, physicians reported less fatigue in patients randomized to HF-WBI (0% vs 6%; P = .01), and patients randomized to HF-WBI reported less lack of energy (23% vs 39%; P < .001) and less trouble meeting family needs (3% vs 9%; P = .01). Multivariable regression confirmed the superiority of HF-WBI in terms of patient-reported lack of energy (odds ratio [OR], 0.39; 95% CI, 0.24-0.63) and trouble meeting family needs (OR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.16-0.75).
Conclusions and Relevance
Treatment with HF-WBI appears to yield lower rates of acute toxic effects than CF-WBI as well as less fatigue and less trouble meeting family needs 6 months after completing radiation therapy. These findings should be communicated to patients as part of shared decision making.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01266642
Shaitelman SF, Schlembach PJ, Arzu I, Ballo M, Bloom ES, Buchholz D, Chronowski GM, Dvorak T, Grade E, Hoffman KE, Kelly P, Ludwig M, Perkins GH, Reed V, Shah S, Stauder MC, Strom EA, Tereffe W, Woodward WA, Ensor J, Baumann D, Thompson AM, Amaya D, Davis T, Guerra W, Hamblin L, Hortobagyi G, Hunt KK, Buchholz TA, Smith BD. Acute and Short-term Toxic Effects of Conventionally Fractionated vs Hypofractionated Whole-Breast IrradiationA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol. 2015;1(7):931-941. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.2666