Acute dermatitis in adult female patients receiving hypofractionated radiotherapy for breast cancer: experience from a low- and middle-income country

15 Jun 2022
Yumna Ahmed, Agha Muhammad Hammad Khan, Fatima Shaukat, Rabia Tahseen, Maria Tariq, Bilal Mazhar, Sehrish Abrar, Nasir Ali

Radiotherapy (RT) is an important component of treatment in the management of breast cancer patients. The radiation treatment paradigm has been shifted towards hypofractionated RT. This study aims to determine the severity of acute dermatitis in patients receiving hypofractionated RT for breast cancer at a tertiary care university hospital in Pakistan. Patients with biopsy-proven invasive breast carcinoma or DCIS who were referred for radical radiotherapy after discussion in the breast tumour board were retrospectively reviewed. Physical assessment of the patients for evaluation of the severity of radiation dermatitis will be carried out in the first week, last week and on the first follow-up after 1 month of completion of RT, according to the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/European Organisation For Research And Treatment Of Cancer (RTOG/EORTC) criteria. We identified 92 female patients in 6 months at Aga Khan University Hospital, with a mean age of 53.1 years. Most of the treated patients had clinical stage 3 (64%) cancer, while others were stage 2 (42%), stage 1 (2%) and stage 0 (2%). The surgeries performed were mastectomy in 59 patients and breast-conserving surgery in 33 patients. Histology was Intra Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) (95%), DCIS (3%) and Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) (2%). Most of the patients received chemotherapy (96%). Radiotherapy dose was 4256 cGy in 16 fractions, followed by a boost of 10 Gy. The radiation techniques used were intensity-modulated radiotherapy (47.8%) and three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (52.2%). Most of the patients experienced no toxicity (59%), while grade I toxicity was observed in 29% of the patients and grade II toxicity was observed in 11%. Only 1% of the patients experienced grade III skin toxicity. Hypofractionated radiation therapy is beneficial because of the shorter overall treatment time which reduces the socio-economic burden, not only for patients but also for radiotherapeutic institutions. However, extended follow-up is to be reported for long-term toxicity and other consequences.

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