Objectives: To evaluate the cosmetic effect of a tumor-bed boost after hypofractionated whole breast irradiation (HF-WBI+B) using a patient-reported questionnaire.
Materials and Methods: Between 2000 and 2005, 4392 women aged 75 years and younger with unilateral early-stage breast cancer received HF-WBI alone or HF-WBI+B. From each group, 800 randomly sampled surviving and nonrelapsed women were invited to complete the Breast Cancer Treatment Outcomes Scale questionnaire.
Results: A total of 312 women completed the questionnaire: 154 received HF-WBI alone and 158 received HF-WBI+B. Median ages of respondents were 57 years for HF-WBI alone and 52 years for HF-WBI+B (P<0.001). Women receiving HF-WBI+B had a shorter follow-up interval, higher T stage, higher grade, and were more likely to have had nodal radiotherapy and chemotherapy. There were similar responses comparing the overall appearance of the treated to untreated breast (42% stating no or slight difference for HF-WBI alone vs. 41% for HF-WBI+B, P=0.87). The HF-WBI+B group was: (a) slightly worse on the cosmetic subscale (2.3 vs. 2.1, P=0.02); (b) worse on the pain subscale (2.0 vs. 1.6, P<0.0001); but (c) better on the functional subscale (1.5 vs. 1.8, P<0.001). When the pain subscale was applied to the area around the scar (a surrogate for the tumor-bed), the 2 groups were similar (2.0 vs. 2.0, P=0.71).
Conclusions: Similar to conventional fractionated whole breast radiotherapy with a tumor-bed boost, women who received short fractionation whole breast radiotherapy with boost self-report only slightly worse long-term cosmetic and pain outcomes compared with women who received short fractionation alone.