Mentor/Fellow Article

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation

Elfrida Bauer

Joanne L. Lester

breast cancer, radiation therapy, surgery, ethical issues
CJON 2014, 18(5), 556-566. DOI: 10.1188/14.CJON.556-566

Local therapies to treat newly diagnosed breast cancer include a lumpectomy with radiation therapy or a mastectomy. The 20-year data from studies about the safety and efficacy of lumpectomy with full-breast radiation therapy support the safety of this regimen and its role to decrease the risk of ipsilateral recurrence and increase long-term survivorship of women with breast cancer. Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) provides radiation therapy to the tumor bed but spares the remaining breast tissue. APBI accelerates the time required to complete the therapy regimen, with a range of one intraoperative session to five consecutive days compared to five to seven weeks. Several techniques exist to administer APBI, including the insertion of a balloon into the lumpectomy space. Of interest is the widespread use of APBI in community and academic settings that has preceded outcomes of large, randomized clinical trials. Because of selection bias in a number of small, single-institution, nonrandomized studies, published data are of limited value to ensure APBI as a standard of care.

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