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1.  A randomized hypofractionation dose escalation trial for high risk prostate cancer patients: interim analysis of acute toxicity and quality of life in 124 patients 
Background
The α/β ratio for prostate cancer is postulated being in the range of 0.8 to 2.2 Gy, giving rise to the hypothesis that there may be a therapeutic advantage to hypofractionation. To do so, we carried out a randomized trial comparing hypofractionated and conventionally fractionated image-guided intensity modulated radiotherapy (IG-IMRT) in high-risk prostate cancer. Here, we report on acute toxicity and quality of life (QOL) for the first 124 randomized patients.
Methods
The trial compares 76 Gy in 38 fractions (5 fractions/week) (Arm 1) to 63 Gy in 20 fractions (4 fractions/week) (Arm 2) (IG-IMRT). Prophylactic pelvic lymph node irradiation with 46 Gy in 23 fractions sequentially (Arm 1) and 44 Gy in 20 fractions simultaneously (Arm 2) was applied. All patients had long term androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) started before RT. Both physician-rated acute toxicity and patient-reported QOL using EPIC questionnaire are described.
Results
There were no differences in overall maximum acute gastrointestinal (GI) or genitourinary (GU) toxicity. Compared to conventional fractionation (Arm 1), GI and GU toxicity both developed significantly earlier but also disappeared earlier in the Arm 2, reaching significant differences from Arm 1 at week 8 and 9. In multivariate analyses, only parameter shown to be related to increased acute Grade ≥1 GU toxicity was the study Arm 2 (p = 0.049). There were no statistically significant differences of mean EPIC scores in any domain and sub-scales. The clinically relevant decrease (CRD) in EPIC urinary domain was significantly higher in Arm 2 at month 1 with a faster recovery at month 3 as compared to Arm 1.
Conclusions
Hypofractionation at 3.15 Gy per fraction to 63 Gy within 5 weeks was well tolerated. The GI and GU physician-rated acute toxicity both developed earlier but recovered faster using hypofractionation. There was a correlation between acute toxicity and bowel and urinary QOL outcomes. Longer follow-up is needed to determine the significance of these associations with late toxicity.
doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-206
PMCID: PMC3846611  PMID: 24007322
2.  Health-related quality of life in survivors of stage I-II breast cancer: randomized trial of post-operative conventional radiotherapy and hypofractionated tomotherapy 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:495.
Background
Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) assessment is a key component of clinical oncology trials. However, few breast cancer trials comparing adjuvant conventional radiotherapy (CR) and hypofractionated tomotherapy (TT) have investigated HRQOL. We compared HRQOL in stage I-II breast cancer patients who were randomized to receive either CR or TT. Tomotherapy uses an integrated computed tomography scanner to improve treatment accuracy, aiming to reduce the adverse effects of radiotherapy.
Methods
A total of 121 stage I–II breast cancer patients who had undergone breast conserving surgery (BCS) or mastectomy (MA) were randomly assigned to receive either CR or TT. CR patients received 25 × 2 Gy over 5 weeks, and BCS patients also received a sequential boost of 8 × 2 Gy over 2 weeks. TT patients received 15 × 2.8 Gy over 3 weeks, and BCS patients also received a simultaneous integrated boost of 15 × 0.6 Gy over 3 weeks. Patients completed the EORTC QLQ-C30 and BR23 questionnaires. The mean score (± standard error) was calculated at baseline, the end of radiotherapy, and at 3 months and 1, 2, and 3 years post-radiotherapy. Data were analyzed by the 'intention-to-treat' principle.
Results
On the last day of radiotherapy, patients in both treatment arms had decreased global health status and functioning scores; increased fatigue (clinically meaningful in both treatment arms), nausea and vomiting, and constipation; decreased arm symptoms; clinically meaningful increased breast symptoms in CR patients and systemic side effects in TT patients; and slightly decreased body image and future perspective.
At 3 months post-radiotherapy, TT patients had a clinically significant increase in role- and social-functioning scores and a clinically significant decrease in fatigue. The post-radiotherapy physical-, cognitive- and emotional-functioning scores improved faster in TT patients than CR patients. TT patients also had a better long-term recovery from fatigue than CR patients. ANOVA with the Bonferroni correction did not show any significant differences between groups in HRQOL scores.
Conclusions
TT patients had a better improvement in global health status and role- and cognitive-functioning, and a faster recovery from fatigue, than CR patients. These results suggest that a shorter fractionation schedule may reduce the adverse effects of treatment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-495
PMCID: PMC3492203  PMID: 23098579
Health-related quality of life; Breast cancer; Hypofractionated radiotherapy; Adjuvant treatment; Randomized trial
3.  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
4.  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

Results 1-4 (4)