Post-lumpectomy radiation therapy boost in breast cancer patients: evidence revisited

1 Mar 2021
Majd Kayali, Joseph Abi Jaoude, Paul Ramia, Hazem Assi, Fady Geara, Philip Poortmans, Youssef H Zeidan

Purpose: Radiation therapy is an integral part in the management of breast cancer after breast conservative surgery. In selected patients at high risk for local recurrence (LR), a boost radiation dose is commonly applied to the tumour bed.

Methods: We performed a review of the English literature using PubMed, Medline and Google Scholar for published manuscripts addressing the effect of boost radiation in breast cancer patients, focusing mainly on LR and overall survival (OS).

Results: A total of seven studies were included in our review. Most studies (6/7, 85.7%) showed a significant improvement in local control independent of age (hazard ratios ranging between 0.34 and 0.73), with the largest absolute benefit in younger patients. None of the studies, however, was able to demonstrate an improvement in OS.

Conclusions: With lack of sufficient studies addressing the role of boost radiation, individualised treatment decisions are recommended, taking into account the risk factors for LR, including tumour biology. Real-life data are sorely needed to better assess the role of tumour bed boost in the contemporary era.

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