Hypofractionated Radiotherapy May Improve Quality of Life in Breast Cancer

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Hypofractionation improves convenience and may reduce acute pain and fatigue in breast cancer.
Hypofractionation improves convenience and may reduce acute pain and fatigue in breast cancer.

Hypofractionation improves convenience and may reduce acute pain, fatigue, and the extent to which patients are bothered by dermatitis in patients undergoing whole-breast radiotherapy for breast cancer, a new study published online ahead of print in JAMA Oncology.

For the study, researchers sought to analyze the impact of varying radiation fractionation schemes on acute toxic effects and patient-reported outcomes in women with breast cancer undergoing whole-breast radiotherapy.

Researchers evaluated data from 2,309 patients who received adjuvant whole-breast radiotherapy after lumpectomy for unilateral breast cancer between October 2011 and June 2014. All patients had received a comprehensive physician toxicity evaluation within 1 week of finishing treatment and at least 1 weekly evaluation during treatment.

Results showed that patients who received conventional fractionation experienced significantly higher maximum physician-assessed skin reaction (P<0.001), self-reported pain (P=0.003), burning/stinging bother (P=0.002), pain bother (P=0.001), swelling bother (P=0.03), and fatigue (P=0.02).

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However, patients who received conventional fractionated whole-breast radiotherapy experienced slight greater absence of skin induration during follow-up (P=0.02).

The study demonstrated no significant differences in any other measured outcomes during the 6 months of follow-up.


  1. Jagsi R, Griffith KA, Boike TP, et al. Differences in the acute toxic effects of breast radiotherapy by fractionation schedule: comparative analysis of physician-assessed and patient-reported outcomes in a large multicenter cohort. JAMA Oncol. 2015. [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.2590.

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