Publication Abstract

Authors: Jagsi R, Falchook AD, Hendrix LH, Curry H, Chen RC

Title: Adoption of hypofractionated radiation therapy for breast cancer after publication of randomized trials.

Journal: Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 90(5):1001-9

Date: 2014 Dec 01

Abstract: PURPOSE: Large randomized trials have established the noninferiority of shorter courses of "hypofractionated" radiation therapy (RT) to the whole breast compared to conventional courses using smaller daily doses in the adjuvant treatment of selected breast cancer patients undergoing lumpectomy. Hypofractionation is more convenient and less costly. Therefore, we sought to determine uptake of hypofractionated breast RT over time. METHODS AND MATERIALS: In the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare-linked database, we identified 16,096 women with node-negative breast cancer and 4269 with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who received lumpectomy followed by more than 12 fractions of RT between 2004 and 2010. Based on Medicare claims, we determined the number of RT treatments given and grouped patients into those receiving hypofractionation (13-24) or those receiving conventional fractionation (≥25). We also determined RT technique (intensity modulated RT or not) using Medicare claims. We evaluated patterns and correlates of hypofractionation receipt using bivariate and multivariable analyses. RESULTS: Hypofractionation use was similar in patients with DCIS and those with invasive disease. Overall, the use of hypofractionation increased from 3.8% in 2006 to 5.4% in 2007, to 9.4% in 2008, and to 13.6% in 2009 and 2010. Multivariable analysis showed increased use of hypofractionation in recent years and in patients with older age, smaller tumors, increased comorbidity, higher regional education, and Western SEER regions. However, even in patients over the age of 80, the hypofractionation rate in 2009 to 2010 was only 25%. Use of intensity modulated RT (IMRT) also increased over time (from 9.4% in 2004 to 22.7% in 2009-2010) and did not vary significantly between patients receiving hypofractionation and those receiving traditional fractionation. CONCLUSIONS: Hypofractionation use increased among low-risk older US breast cancer patients with publication and maturation of evidence from randomized trials, but overall use of this cost-saving approach remained low. This contrasts with the more rapid rate of adoption of IMRT in the same time period, a costly innovation supported by less strong evidence of benefit.