Radiation-Induced Brachial Plexopathy in Patients With Breast Cancer Treated With Comprehensive Adjuvant Radiation Therapy

Soumon Rudra, Amit Roy, Randall Brenneman, Prashant Gabani, Michael C. Roach, Laura Ochoa, Heidi Prather, Catherine Appleton, Julie Margenthaler, Lindsay L. Peterson, Nusayba A. Bagegni, Jacqueline E. Zoberi, Jose Garcia-Ramirez, Maria A. Thomas, Imran Zoberi

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10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Our purpose was to describe the risk of radiation-induced brachial plexopathy (RIBP) in patients with breast cancer who received comprehensive adjuvant radiation therapy (RT). Methods and Materials: Records for 498 patients who received comprehensive adjuvant RT (treatment of any residual breast tissue, the underlying chest wall, and regional nodes) between 2004 and 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. All patients were treated with conventional 3 to 5 field technique (CRT) until 2008, after which intensity modulated RT (IMRT) was introduced. RIBP events were determined by reviewing follow-up documentation from oncologic care providers. Patients with RIBP were matched (1:2) with a control group of patients who received CRT and a group of patients who received IMRT. Dosimetric analyses were performed in these patients to determine whether there were differences in ipsilateral brachial plexus dose distribution between RIBP and control groups. Results: Median study follow-up was 88 months for the overall cohort and 92 months for the IMRT cohort. RIBP occurred in 4 CRT patients (1.6%) and 1 IMRT patient (0.4%) (P =.20). All patients with RIBP in the CRT cohort received a posterior axillary boost. Maximum dose to the brachial plexus in RIBP, CRT control, and IMRT control patients had median values of 56.0 Gy (range, 49.7-65.1), 54.8 Gy (47.4-60.5), and 54.8 Gy (54.2-57.3), respectively. Conclusions: RIBP remains a rare complication of comprehensive adjuvant breast radiation and no clear dosimetric predictors for RIBP were identified in this study. The IMRT technique does not appear to adversely affect the development of this late toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100602
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


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