Office hours pulsed brachytherapy boost in breast cancer

P. Sminia, C. J. Schneider, G. van Tienhoven, K. Koedooder, L. E. Blank, D. González González

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11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Radiobiological studies suggest equivalent biological effects between continuous low dose rate brachytherapy (CLDR) and pulsed brachytherapy (PB) when pulses are applied without interruption every hour. However, radiation protection and institute-specific demands requested the design of a practical PB protocol substituting the CLDR boost in breast cancer patients. An office hours scheme was designed, considering the CLDR dose rate, the overall treatment time, pulse frequency and tissue repair characteristics. Radiobiological details are presented as well as the logistics and technical feasibility of the scheme after treatment of the first 100 patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Biologically effective doses (BEDs) were calculated according to the linear quadratic model for incomplete repair. Radiobiological parameters included an alpha/beta value of 3 Gy for normal tissue late effects and 10 Gy for early normal tissue or tumour effects. Tissue repair half-time ranged from 0.1 to 6 h. The reference CLDR dose rate of 0.80 Gy/h was obtained retrospectively from analysis of patients' data. The treatment procedure was evaluated with regard to variations in implant characteristics after treatment of 100 patients. RESULTS: A PB protocol was designed consisting of two treatment blocks separated by a night break. Dose delivery in PB was 20 Gy in two 10 Gy blocks and, for application of the 15 Gy boost, one 10 Gy block plus one 5 Gy block. The dose per pulse was 1.67 Gy, applied with a period time of approximately 1.5 h. An inter-patient variation of 30% (1 SD) was observed in the instantaneous source strength. Taking also the spread in implant size into account, the net variation in pulse duration amounted to 38%. CONCLUSION: An office hours PB boost regimen was designed for substitution of the CLDR boost in breast-conserving therapy on the basis of the BED. First treatment experience shows the office hour regimen to be convenient to the patients and no technical perturbations were encountered
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalRadiotherapy and oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2001


  • Brachytherapy
  • Breast Neoplasms/radiotherapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pulse
  • Relative Biological Effectiveness

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