Acute complications of MammoSite brachytherapy: A single institution's initial clinical experience

Jennifer L. Harper, Joseph M. Jenrette, Kenneth N. Vanek, Eric G. Aguero, William E. Gillanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Purpose To report the acute complications incurred by the initial 37 patients who underwent accelerated partial breast irradiation with the MammoSite balloon breast brachytherapy applicator at the Medical University of South Carolina. Methods and materials Between May 2002 and March 2003, 37 patients with ductal carcinoma in situ or invasive carcinoma had MammoSite brachytherapy catheters successfully place after lumpectomy by one of four surgeons and were deemed eligible for high-dose-rate brachytherapy. An open technique was used in 32 implants and the scar entry technique was used in 5 implants. Patients had Stage pTis-pT2N1 with negative margins. A dose of 34 Gy was prescribed to 1 cm from the balloon surface using 192Ir high-dose-rate brachytherapy and was delivered in 10 fractions twice daily. CT was used to confirm that the balloon surface was adherent to the lumpectomy cavity and to measure the balloon surface to skin surface distance. CT images and daily fluoroscopic simulations were used for treatment planning. Patients were assessed for acute toxicity on the day of therapy completion and 4 weeks after therapy by the radiation oncologist. In addition, all available data from radiation, surgical, and medical oncology were retrospectively reviewed for documentation of complications. All patients in this series had a minimal follow-up of 3 months; the mean follow-up for all patients was 7 months. Results The acute complications were categorized as operative wound complications, infections, skin toxicity, seromas, or catheter failures. Operative wound complications occurred in 3 patients (8%). Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Grade 2 and Grade 3 toxicity occurred in 2 (5.4%) and 1 (2.7%) patient, respectively. Six (16.2%) developed wound infections and 12 (32.4%) seromas. Catheter failures due to leak occurred in 2 patients (5.4%) and rupture in 3 (8%). Conclusion The types of complications in this experience were similar to those in the Phase I trial of the MammoSite brachytherapy applicator. However, catheter failure due to leak occurred in our experience and was not described in the Phase I trial. The incidence of complications was greater in our series than in the Phase I trial; however, differences in toxicity scoring and the length of follow-up between the two series impeded direct comparisons. The incidences of complications over time reflect the steep learning curve for accelerated partial breast irradiation using the MammoSite brachytherapy applicator. Finally, radiation recall dermatitis developed in 1 patient treated after this review was completed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Complications
  • MammoSite
  • Partial breast irradiation
  • Radiation recall dermatitis


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