Hypofractionated whole breast radiation and partial breast radiation for early-stage breast cancers: An update on progress
This article provides an update of recent progress using partial breast irradiation (PBI) for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer, rather than whole breast radiotherapy (WBRT), which is the standard of care. Several large, prospective, randomized trials are nearing target accrual or have been completed, including the NSABP/RTOG trial, the Milan-based intraoperative radiation trial, and the international TARGIT trial, and the status of each is discussed. The American Society for Radiation Oncology has also published a consensus statement to guide the use of PBI until some of the phase III trials are more mature. Finally, several articles have appeared recently, reporting unexpected adverse effects of PBI in small series, and this information is reviewed. Several recent prospective trials of WBRT are also discussed, with the theme of comparing the standard 25 fractions to a shortened, hypofractionated trial arm delivering equivalent doses of WBRT in approximately 15 treatments, another radiation strategy for a shortened course of treatment after breast-conserving surgery.