Our goal was to evaluate brachial plexus (BP) dose with and without the use of supraclavicular (SCL) irradiation in patients undergoing breast-conserving therapy with whole-breast radiation therapy (RT) after lumpectomy. Using the standardized Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG)-endorsed guidelines delineation, we contoured the BP for 10 postlumpectomy breast cancer patients. The radiation dose to the whole breast was 50.4 Gy using tangential fields in 1.8-Gy fractions, followed by a conedown to the operative bed using electrons (10 Gy). The prescription dose to the SCL field was 50.4 Gy, delivered to 3-cm depth. The mean BP volume was 14.5 ± 1.5 cm 3. With tangential fields alone, the median mean dose to the BP was 0.57 Gy, the median maximum dose was 1.93 Gy, and the irradiated volume of the BP receiving 40, 45, and 50 Gy was 0%. When the third (SCL field) was added, the dose to the BP was significantly increased (P = .01): the median mean dose to the BP was 40.60 Gy, and the median maximum dose was 52.22 Gy. With 3-field RT, the median irradiated volume of the BP receiving 40, 45, and 50 Gy was 83.5%, 68.5%, and 24.6%, respectively. The addition of the SCL field significantly increases dose to the BP. The possibility of increasing the risk of BP morbidity should be considered in the context of clinical decision making.
- Brachial plexus
- Breast cancer
- Breast-conserving therapy
- Radiation therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology