A Population-Based Study of the Fractionation of Postlumpectomy Breast Radiation Therapy Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • PURPOSE: The optimal fractionation schedule of post lumpectomy radiation therapy remains controversial. The objective of this study was to describe the fractionation of post-lumpectomy radiation therapy (RT) in Ontario, before and after the seminal Ontario Clinical Oncology Group (OCOG) trial, which showed the equivalence of 16- and 25-fraction schedules. METHODS AND MATERIALS: This was a retrospective cohort study conducted by linking electronic treatment records to a population-based cancer registry. The study population included all patients who underwent lumpectomy for invasive breast cancer in Ontario, Canada, between 1984 and 2008. RESULTS: Over the study period, 41,747 breast cancer patients received post lumpectomy radiation therapy to the breast only. Both 16- and 25-fraction schedules were commonly used throughout the study period. In the early 1980s, shorter fractionation schedules were used in >80% of cases. Between 1985 and 1995, the proportion of patients treated with shorter fractionation decreased to 48%. After completion of the OCOG trial, shorter fractionation schemes were once again widely adopted across Ontario, and are currently used in about 71% of cases; however, large intercenter variations in fractionation persisted. CONCLUSIONS: The use of shorter schedules of post lumpectomy RT in Ontario increased after completion of the OCOG trial, but the trial had a less normative effect on practice than expected.

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publication date

  • May 2013

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