Survey on the use of radiotherapy to treat early breast cancer following breast-conserving surgery in China.

Research paper by Ye Y Zhang, Zhou-guang ZG Hui, Jiang-hu JH Zhang, Zi-hao ZH Yu, Xin-fan XF Liu, Jing J Jin, Wei-hu WH Wang, Shu-lian SL Wang, Yong-wen YW Song, Yue-ping YP Liu, Hua H Ren, Hui H Fang, Ye-xiong YX Li

Indexed on: 25 Oct '14Published on: 25 Oct '14Published in: Tumori


The use of radiotherapy to treat early stage breast cancer following breast-conserving surgery has markedly increased. The study aimed to evaluate the clinical practice of radiotherapy in China.A survey concerning the characteristics of breast-conserving radiotherapy for early stage breast cancer was distributed to all radiotherapy departments in mainland China in 2009. The results were analyzed.Three hundred and ninety-six departments replied (41.6%), and 328 (34.4%) launched breast-conserving radiotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy was the most common combination and was performed in 55.2% of the responding centers. The median time from surgery to radiotherapy was 9 weeks. Three hundred and nineteen (97.3%) centers treated the whole breast, 273 (83.2%) the supraclavicular area, 138 (43.3%) the axilla, and 85 (26.8%) the internal mammary region; 97.5% (310/319) of all centers performed irradiation of the whole breast in all candidates. One hundred and fourteen (41.8%) treated the supraclavicular area, and 37 (26.8%) treated the axilla in 1-3 positive lymph nodes. Eighty-six (31.5%) and 40 (29.0%) performed the corresponding irradiation in N 2-3 patients. Fifty-six (72.9%) treated the internal mammary region for tumors of the center or inner quadrant. The conformal technique was used in 51.8% of the centers.Although a consensus has been reached, debate still exists about the target of postoperative radiotherapy in early stage breast cancer.