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1.  Ultrasound elastography as an objective diagnostic measurement tool for lymphoedema of the treated breast in breast cancer patients following breast conserving surgery and radiotherapy 
Radiology and Oncology  2012;46(4):284-295.
Background.
Lymphoedema of the operated and irradiated breast is a common complication following early breast cancer treatment. There is no consensus on objective diagnostic criteria and standard measurement tools. This study investigates the use of ultrasound elastography as an objective quantitative measurement tool for the diagnosis of parenchymal breast oedema.
Patients and methods.
The elasticity ratio of the subcutis, measured with ultrasound elastography, was compared with high-frequency ultrasound parameters and subjective symptoms in twenty patients, bilaterally, prior to and following breast conserving surgery and breast irradiation.
Results.
Elasticity ratio of the subcutis of the operated breast following radiation therapy increased in 88.9% of patients, was significantly higher than prior to surgery, unlike the non operated breast and significantly higher than the non operated breast, unlike preoperative results. These results were significantly correlated with visibility of the echogenic line, measured with high-frequency ultrasound. Big preoperative bra cup size was a significant risk factor for the development of breast oedema.
Conclusions.
Ultrasound elastography is an objective quantitative measurement tool for the diagnosis of parenchymal breast oedema, in combination with other objective diagnostic criteria. Further research with longer follow-up and more patients is necessary to confirm our findings.
doi:10.2478/v10019-012-0033-z
PMCID: PMC3572897  PMID: 23412910
early breast cancer; breast conserving surgery; breast irradiation; lymphoedema of the breast; breast oedema; ultrasound elastography
2.  Early Contralateral Shoulder-Arm Morbidity in Breast Cancer Patients Enrolled in a Randomized Trial of Post-Surgery Radiation Therapy 
Introduction
Shoulder/arm morbidity is a common complication of breast cancer surgery and radiotherapy (RT), but little is known about acute contralateral morbidity.
Methods
Patients were 118 women enrolled in a RT trial. Arm volume and shoulder mobility were assessed before and 1–3 months after RT. Correlations and linear regression were used to analyze changes affecting ipsilateral and contralateral arms, and changes affecting relative interlimb differences (RID).
Results
Changes affecting one limb correlated with changes affecting the other limb. Arm volume between the two limbs correlated (R = 0.57). Risk factors were weight increase and axillary dissection. Contralateral and ipsilateral loss of abduction strongly correlated (R = 0.78). Changes of combined RID exceeding 10% affected the ipsilateral limb in 25% of patients, and the contralateral limb in 18%. Aromatase inhibitor therapy was significantly associated with contralateral loss of abduction.
Conclusions
High incidence of early contralateral arm morbidity warrants further investigations.
doi:10.4137/BCBCR.S9362
PMCID: PMC3418149  PMID: 22904635
early breast cancer; short-course radiation therapy; image-guided radiation therapy; shoulder/arm morbidity; breast cancer-related lymphedema
3.  Scapula alata in early breast cancer patients enrolled in a randomized clinical trial of post-surgery short-course image-guided radiotherapy 
Background
Scapula alata (SA) is a known complication of breast surgery associated with palsy of the serratus anterior, but it is seldom mentioned. We evaluated the risk factors associated with SA and the relationship of SA with ipsilateral shoulder/arm morbidity in a series of patients enrolled in a trial of post-surgery radiotherapy (RT).
Methods
The trial randomized women with completely resected stage I-II breast cancer to short-course image-guided RT, versus conventional RT. SA, arm volume and shoulder-arm mobility were measured prior to RT and at one to three months post-RT. Shoulder/arm morbidities were computed as a post-RT percentage change relative to pre-RT measurements.
Results
Of 119 evaluable patients, 13 (= 10.9%) had pre-RT SA. Age younger than 50 years old, a body mass index less than 25 kg/m2, and axillary lymph node dissection were significant risk factors, with odds ratios of 4.8 (P = 0.009), 6.1 (P = 0.016), and 6.1 (P = 0.005), respectively. Randomization group was not significant. At one to three months’ post-RT, mean arm volume increased by 4.1% (P = 0.036) and abduction decreased by 8.6% (P = 0.046) among SA patients, but not among non-SA patients. SA resolved in eight, persisted in five, and appeared in one patient.
Conclusion
The relationship of SA with lower body mass index suggests that SA might have been underestimated in overweight patients. Despite apparent resolution of SA in most patients, pre-RT SA portended an increased risk of shoulder/arm morbidity. We argue that SA warrants further investigation. Incidentally, the observation of SA occurring after RT in one patient represents the second case of post-RT SA reported in the literature.
doi:10.1186/1477-7819-10-86
PMCID: PMC3488523  PMID: 22591589
Breast cancer; Surgery; Radiation treatment; Complications; Winged scapula; Scapular winging; Long thoracic nerve; Multiple outcomes; Shoulder/arm morbidity; Lymphedema
4.  Effect of TENS on pain in relation to central sensitization in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:21.
Background
Central sensitization has recently been documented in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OAk). So far, the presence of central sensitization has not been considered as a confounding factor in studies assessing the pain inhibitory effect of tens on osteoarthritis of the knee. The purpose of this study is to explore the pain inhibitory effect of burst tens in OAk patients and to explore the prognostic value of central sensitization on the pain inhibitory effect of tens in OAk patients.
Methods
Patients with knee pain due to OAk will be recruited through advertisements in local media. Temporal summation, before and after a heterotopic noxious conditioning stimulation, will be measured. In addition, pain on a numeric rating score, WOMAC subscores for pain and function and global perceived effect will be assessed. Patients will be randomly allocated to one of two treatment groups (tens, sham tens). Follow-up measurements will be scheduled after a period of 6 and 12 weeks.
Discussion
Tens influences pain through the electrical stimulation of low-threshold A-beta cutaneous fibers. The responsiveness of central pain-signaling neurons of centrally sensitized OAk patients may be augmented to the input of these electrical stimuli. This would encompass an adverse therapy effect of tens. To increase treatment effectiveness it might be interesting to identify a subgroup of symptomatic OAk patients, i.e., non-sensitized patients, who are likely to benefit from burst tens.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01390285
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-21
PMCID: PMC3307484  PMID: 22353582

Results 1-4 (4)