Factors affecting radiotherapy prescribing patterns in the post-mastectomy setting

T.A. Koulis, A. Dang, C. Speers, R.A. Olson



Radiation therapy (rt) after mastectomy for breast cancer can improve survival outcomes, but has been associated with inferior cosmesis after breast reconstruction. In the literature, rt dose and fractionation schedules are inconsistently reported. We sought to determine the pattern of rt prescribing practices in a provincial rt program for patients treated with mastectomy and reconstruction.


Women diagnosed with stages 0–iii breast cancer between January 2012 and December 2013 and treated with curative-intent rt were identified from a clinicopathology database. Patient demographic, tumour, and treatment information were extracted. Of the identified patients, those undergoing mastectomy were the focus of the present analysis.


Of 4016 patients identified, 1143 (28%) underwent mastectomy. The patients treated with mastectomy had a median age of 57 years, and 37% of them underwent reconstruction. Treatment with more than 16 fractions of rt was associated with autologous reconstruction [odds ratio (or): 37.2; 95% confidence interval (ci): 11.2 to 123.7; p < 0.001], implant reconstruction (or: 93.3; 95% ci: 45.3 to 192.2; p < 0.001), and treating centre. Hypofractionated treatment was associated with older age (or: 0.94; 95% ci: 0.92 to 0.96; p < 0.001), and living more than 400 km from a treatment centre (or: 0.37; 95% ci: 0.16 to 0.86; p = 0.02).


Prescribing practices in breast cancer patients undergoing mastectomy are influenced by reconstruction intent, age, nodal status, and distance from the treatment centre. Those factors should be considered when making treatment decisions.


Breast cancer; radiation therapy; fractionation; mastectomy; reconstruction

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.25.3773

Copyright © 2019 Multimed Inc.
ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)