Attualità in Senologia

Rassegna della letteratura – gennaio/marzo 2021
Chirurgia oncologica, plastica ricostruttive e radioterapia 

Effect of adjuvant radiotherapy in elderly patients with breast cancer. – PLoS One . 2020 May 20;15(5):e0229518.

Background: Radiotherapy (RT) is of critical importance in the locoregional management of early breast cancer. Although RT is routinely used following breast conserving surgery (BCS), patients may occasionally be effectively treated with BCS alone. Currently, the selection of patients undergoing BCS who do not need breast irradiation is under investigation. With the advancement of personalized medicine, there is an increasing interest in reduction of aggressive treatments especially in older women. The primary objective of this study was to identify elderly patients who may forego breast irradiation after BCS without measurable consequences on local tumor growth and survival.

Methods: We analyzed 2384 early breast cancer patients aged 70 and older who were treated in 17 German certified breast cancer centers between 2001 and 2009. We compared RT versus no RT after guideline adherent (GA) BCS. The outcomes studied were breast cancer recurrence (RFS) and breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS). Low-risk patients were defined by luminal A, tumor size T1 or T2 and node-negative whereas higher-risk patients were defined by patients with G3 or T3/T4 or node-positive or other than Luminal A tumors. To test if there is a difference between two or more survival curves, we used the Gp family of tests of Harrington and Fleming.

Results: The median age was 77 yrs (mean 77.6±5.6 y) and the median observation time 46 mths (mean 48.9±24.8 mths). 950 (39.8%) patients were low-risk and 1434 (60.2%) were higher-risk. 1298 (54.4%) patients received GA BCS of which 85.0% (1103) received GA-RT and only 15% (195) did not. For low-risk patients with GA-BCS there were no significant differences in RFS (log rank p = 0.651) and in BCSS (p = 0.573) stratified by GA-RT. 5 years RFS in both groups were > 97%. For higher-risk patients with GA-BCS we found a significant difference (p<0.001) in RFS and tumor-associated OS stratified by GA-RT. The results remain the same after adjusting by adjuvant systemic treatment (AST) and comorbidity (ASA and NYHA).

Conclusions: Patients aged 70 years and older suffering from low-risk early breast cancer with GA-BCS can avoid breast irradiation with <3% chance of relapse. In the case of higher-risk, breast irradiation should be used routinely following GA-BCS. As a side effect of these results, removing the entire breast of elderly low risk patients to spare them from breast irradiation seems to be not necessary.

Hypofractionated breast radiotherapy for 1 week versus 3 weeks (FAST-Forward): 5-year efficacy and late normal tissue effects results from a multicentre, non-inferiority, randomised, phase 3 trial. – Adrian Murray Brunt, Joanne S Haviland et Al. – Lancet . 2020 May 23;395(10237):1613-1626.

Background: We aimed to identify a five-fraction schedule of adjuvant radiotherapy (radiation therapy) delivered in 1 week that is non-inferior in terms of local cancer control and is as safe as an international standard 15-fraction regimen after primary surgery for early breast cancer. Here, we present 5-year results of the FAST-Forward trial.

Methods: FAST-Forward is a multicentre, phase 3, randomised, non-inferiority trial done at 97 hospitals (47 radiotherapy centres and 50 referring hospitals) in the UK. Patients aged at least 18 years with invasive carcinoma of the breast (pT1-3, pN0-1, M0) after breast conservation surgery or mastectomy were eligible. We randomly allocated patients to either 40 Gy in 15 fractions (over 3 weeks), 27 Gy in five fractions (over 1 week), or 26 Gy in five fractions (over 1 week) to the whole breast or chest wall. Allocation was not masked because of the nature of the intervention. The primary endpoint was ipsilateral breast tumour relapse; assuming a 2% 5-year incidence for 40 Gy, non-inferiority was predefined as ≤1·6% excess for five-fraction schedules (critical hazard ratio [HR] of 1·81). Normal tissue effects were assessed by clinicians, patients, and from photographs. This trial is registered at, ISRCTN19906132.

Findings: Between Nov 24, 2011, and June 19, 2014, we recruited and obtained consent from 4096 patients from 97 UK centres, of whom 1361 were assigned to the 40 Gy schedule, 1367 to the 27 Gy schedule, and 1368 to the 26 Gy schedule. At a median follow-up of 71·5 months (IQR 71·3 to 71·7), the primary endpoint event occurred in 79 patients (31 in the 40 Gy group, 27 in the 27 Gy group, and 21 in the 26 Gy group); HRs versus 40 Gy in 15 fractions were 0·86 (95% CI 0·51 to 1·44) for 27 Gy in five fractions and 0·67 (0·38 to 1·16) for 26 Gy in five fractions. 5-year incidence of ipsilateral breast tumour relapse after 40 Gy was 2·1% (1·4 to 3·1); estimated absolute differences versus 40 Gy in 15 fractions were -0·3% (-1·0 to 0·9) for 27 Gy in five fractions (probability of incorrectly accepting an inferior five-fraction schedule: p=0·0022 vs 40 Gy in 15 fractions) and -0·7% (-1·3 to 0·3) for 26 Gy in five fractions (p=0·00019 vs 40 Gy in 15 fractions). At 5 years, any moderate or marked clinician-assessed normal tissue effects in the breast or chest wall was reported for 98 of 986 (9·9%) 40 Gy patients, 155 (15·4%) of 1005 27 Gy patients, and 121 of 1020 (11·9%) 26 Gy patients. Across all clinician assessments from 1-5 years, odds ratios versus 40 Gy in 15 fractions were 1·55 (95% CI 1·32 to 1·83, p<0·0001) for 27 Gy in five fractions and 1·12 (0·94 to 1·34, p=0·20) for 26 Gy in five fractions. Patient and photographic assessments showed higher normal tissue effect risk for 27 Gy versus 40 Gy but not for 26 Gy versus 40 Gy.

Interpretation: 26 Gy in five fractions over 1 week is non-inferior to the standard of 40 Gy in 15 fractions over 3 weeks for local tumour control, and is as safe in terms of normal tissue effects up to 5 years for patients prescribed adjuvant local radiotherapy after primary surgery for early-stage breast cancer.

Funding: National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme.

Outcomes of intraoperative radiotherapy for early-stage breast cancer: Experience from a multidisciplinary breast oncology program. – Shushan Rana, Arpana Naik et Al –  Am J Surg . 2020 Apr;219(4):655-659.

Background: Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) was implemented at our institution for early stage breast cancer patients including those with geographic or medical co-morbidity limitations to whole breast radiation therapy (WBRT).

Methods: Retrospective review of patients (n = 127) who underwent IORT from 2009 to 2016 for breast cancer. Demographics, pathology, toxicity, and recurrences were ascertained.

Results: The median age was 67 years (interquartile range: 62-73). At median follow-up (49.6 months), 5 patients (4%) had ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence with median time to recurrence of 36.8 months. Acute and late grade ≥3 skin toxicities were observed in 3.1% and 4.7% of patients, respectively. A subset (n = 7) who received prior ipsilateral WBRT was found to have no subsequent local recurrence, one case of acute grade 3 skin toxicity, and no late toxicity.

Conclusions: IORT is a safe and effective alternative to whole breast radiotherapy, and serves as a suitable alternative to completion mastectomy in locally recurrent breast cancer