Whenever possible, I offer my patients with early stage breast cancer a very short, 5-day radiation technique, at Northwest Cancer Clinic, called “accelerated partial breast irradiation” (APBI). If eligibility criteria are met, APBI is a great alternative to the more common course of 15-20 days of treatment, where the entire breast is radiated. APBI, on the other hand, treats a much smaller volume of tissue…simply, the lumpectomy cavity-alone. Importantly, the effectiveness of APBI is similar to the longer whole breast treatment.
In the first video, we are demonstrating a non-invasive APBI technique in which I am able to target a dissolvable marker (“BioZorb”) that is implanted by the breast surgeon into the lumpectomy cavity at the time of surgery.
In the second video, we are demonstrating how the use of a brachytherapy catheter device (i.e. SAVI, Mammosite) can be used.
- A large randomized study (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) shows no difference in local control between whole breast versus partial breast irradiation. The 8-year cumulative rates of local recurrence were 3·0% in the APBI group and 2·8% in the whole breast RT group: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)32515-2/fulltext
- While the above study noted worse cosmetic outcomes in the APBI group, another large study (USA, Canada, Ireland, and Israel) found no difference: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)32514-0/fulltext
The bottomline is that a short, 5-day partial breast RT course is a good option for many patients with small, early stage breast cancers.