Omission of Radiation in Conservative Treatment for Breast Cancer: Opportunity for De-escalation of Care.

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The Journal of surgical research


INTRODUCTION: De-escalation of breast cancer treatment aims to reduce patient and financial toxicity without compromising outcomes. Level I evidence and National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines support omission of adjuvant radiation in patients aged >70 y with hormone-sensitive, pT1N0M0 invasive breast cancer treated with endocrine therapy. We evaluated radiation use in patients eligible for guideline concordant omission of radiation.

METHODS: Subgroup analysis of patients eligible for radiation omission from two pooled randomized controlled trials, which included stage 0-III breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery, was performed to evaluate factors associated with radiation use.

RESULTS: Of 631 patients, 47 (7.4%) met radiation omission criteria and were treated by 14 surgeons at eight institutions. The mean age was 75.3 (standard deviation + 4.4) y. Majority of patients identified as White (n = 46; 97.9%) and non-Hispanic (n = 44; 93.6%). The mean tumor size was 1.0 cm; 37 patients (88.1%) had ductal, 4 patients (9.5%) had lobular, and 17 patients (40.5%) had low-grade disease. Among patients eligible for radiation omission, 34 (72.3%) patients received adjuvant radiation. Those who received radiation were significantly younger than those who did not (74 y, interquartile range = 4 y, versus 78 y, interquartile range = 11 y, P = 0.03). There was no difference in radiation use based on size (P = 0.4), histology (P = 0.5), grade (P = 0.7), race (P = 1), ethnicity (P = 0.6), institution (P = 0.1), gender of the surgeon (P = 0.7), or surgeon (P = 0.1).

CONCLUSIONS: Fewer than 10% of patients undergoing breast conservation met criteria for radiation omission. Nearly three-quarters received radiation therapy with younger age being a driver of radiation use, suggesting ample opportunity for de-escalation, particularly among younger eligible patients.



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