Reduced Mortality With Partial-Breast Irradiation for Early Breast Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials.
Vaidya JS., Bulsara M., Wenz F., Coombs N., Singer J., Ebbs S., Massarut S., Saunders C., Douek M., Williams NR., Joseph D., Tobias JS., Baum M.
PURPOSE: With earlier detection and more effective treatment, mortality from breast cancer continues to fall and it has become increasingly important to reduce the toxicity of treatments. Partial-breast radiation therapy, which focuses radiation to the tumor bed, may achieve this aim. We analyzed mortality differences in randomized trials of partial-breast irradiation (PBI). METHODS AND MATERIALS: We included data from published randomized trials of PBI (alone or as part of a risk-adapted approach) versus whole-breast irradiation (WBI) for invasive breast cancer suitable for breast-conserving therapy. We identified trials using PubMed and Google searches with the terms "partial breast irradiation" OR "intraoperative radiotherapy" OR "IMRT" OR ("accelerated" AND "radiation") AND "randomised/randomized," as well as through discussion with colleagues in the field. We calculated the proportion of patients who had events in each randomized arm at 5 years' follow-up and created a forest plot using Stata, version 14.1. RESULTS: We identified 9 randomized trials of PBI versus WBI in invasive breast cancer; 5-year outcomes were available for non-breast cancer mortality in 5 trials (n=4489) and for breast cancer mortality in 4 trials (n=4231). The overall mortality was 4.9%. There was no detectable heterogeneity between the trials for any of the outcomes. There was no difference in the proportion of patients dying of breast cancer (difference, 0.000% [95% confidence interval (CI), -0.7 to +0.7]; P=.999). Non-breast cancer mortality with PBI was lower than with WBI (difference, 1.1% [95% CI, -2.1% to -0.2%]; P=.023). Total mortality with PBI was also lower than with WBI (difference, 1.3% [95% CI, -2.5% to 0.0%]; P=.05). CONCLUSIONS: Use of PBI instead of WBI in selected patients results in a lower 5-year non-breast cancer and overall mortality, amounting to a 25% reduction in relative terms. This information should be included when breast-conserving therapy is proposed to a patient.