Deep Inspiration Breath Hold Reduces the Mean Heart Dose in Left Breast Cancer Radiotherapy
DIBH in breast radiotherapy
Purpose: Patients with left breast cancer who undergo radiotherapy have a non-negligible risk of developing radiation-induced cardiovascular disease (CVD). Cardioprotection can be achieved through better treatment planning protocols and through respiratory gating techniques, including deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH). Several dosimetric studies have shown that DIBH reduces the cardiac dose, but clinical data confirming this effect is limited. The aim of this study was to compare the mean heart dose (MHD) in patients with left breast cancer who underwent radiotherapy at our institution as we transitioned from non-gated free-breathing (FB) radiotherapy to gated radiotherapy (FB-GRT), and finally to DIBH.
Material and methods: Retrospective study involving 2022 breast cancer patients who underwent radiotherapy at our center from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2017. We compared the MHD in these patients according to year of treatment and technique.
Results: Overall, the MHD for patients with left breast cancer in our cohort was 3.37 Gy. MHD values in the patients treated with DIBH were significantly lower than in patients treated with non-gated FB (2.1 vs. 3.48 Gy, p<0.0001) and gated FB (3.28 Gy, p<0.0001). The lowest MHD values over the four year period were observed in 2017, when nearly 85% of left breast cancer patients were treated with DIBH. The proportion of patients exposed to high (> 4 Gy) MHD values decreased every year, from 40% in 2014 to 7.9% in 2017, while the percentage of patients receiving DIBH increased.
Conclusions: Compared to free-breathing techniques (both gated and non-gated), DIBH reduces the mean radiation dose to the heart in patients with left breast cancer. These findings support the use of DIBH in patients with left breast cancer treated with radiotherapy.
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