Neoadjuvant interstitial high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy combined with systemic chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer

Roddiger, Sandra J; Kolotas, Christos; Filipowicz, Ineza; Kurek, Ralf; Kuner, Ralph Paul; Martin, Thomas; Baltas, Dimos; Rogge, Bernd; Kontova, Marina; Hoffmann, Gerald; Pollow, Bettina; Zamboglou, Nikolaos (2006). Neoadjuvant interstitial high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy combined with systemic chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. Strahlentherapie und Onkologie, 182(1), pp. 22-9. Heidelberg: Springer-Medizin-Verlag 10.1007/s0006-006-1454-7

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: This is the first study investigating neoadjuvant interstitial high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy combined with chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. The goal was to evaluate the type of surgical treatment, histopathologic response, side effects, local control, and survival. PATIENTS AND METHODS: 53 patients, who could not be treated with breast-conserving surgery due to initial tumor size (36/53) or due to an unfavorable breast-tumor ratio (17/53), were analyzed retrospectively. All but one were in an intermediate/high-risk group (St. Gallen criteria). The patients received a neoadjuvant protocol consisting of systemic chemotherapy combined with fractionated HDR brachytherapy (2 x 5 Gy/day, total dose 30 Gy). In cases, where breast-conserving surgery was performed, patients received additional external-beam radiotherapy (EBRT, 1.8 Gy/day, total dose 50.4 Gy). In patients, who underwent mastectomy but showed an initial tumor size of T3/T4 and/or more than three infiltrated lymph nodes, EBRT was also performed. RESULTS: In 30/53 patients (56.6%) breast-conserving surgery could be performed. The overall histopathologic response rate was 96.2% with a complete remission in 28.3% of patients. 49/53 patients were evaluable for follow-up. After a median of 58 months (45-72 months), one patient showed a mild fibrosis of the breast tissue, three patients had mild to moderate lymphatic edema of the arm. 6/49 (12.2%) patients died of distant metastases, 4/49 (8.2%) were alive with disease, and 39/49 (79.6%) were free from disease. Local recurrence was observed in only one case (2%) 40 months after primary therapy. After mastectomy, this patient is currently free from disease. CONCLUSION: The combination of interstitial HDR brachytherapy and chemotherapy is a well-tolerated and effective neoadjuvant treatment in patients with breast cancer. Compared to EBRT, treatment time is short. Postoperative EBRT of the whole breast -- if necessary -- is still possible after neoadjuvant brachytherapy. Even though the number of patients does not permit definite conclusions, the results are promising regarding survival and the very low rate of local recurrences.

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Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Radiation Oncology

UniBE Contributor:

Kolotas, Christos










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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:49

Last Modified:

17 Mar 2015 21:50

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URI: (FactScience: 4314)

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