Association Between Tangential Beam Treatment Parameters and Cardiac Abnormalities After Definitive Radiation Treatment for Left-Sided Breast Cancer

Candace R. Correa, Indra J. Das, Harold I. Litt, Victor Ferrari, Wei Ting Hwang, Lawrence J. Solin, Eleanor E. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the association between radiation treatment (RT) parameters, cardiac diagnostic test abnormalities, and clinical cardiovascular diagnoses among patients with left-sided breast cancer after breast conservation treatment with tangential beam RT. Methods and Materials: The medical records of 416 patients treated between 1977 and 1995 with RT for primary left-sided breast cancer were reviewed for myocardial perfusion imaging and echocardiograms. Sixty-two patients (62/416, 15%) underwent these cardiac diagnostic tests for cardiovascular symptoms and were selected for further study. Central lung distance and maximum heart width and length in the treatment field were determined for each patient. Medical records were reviewed for cardiovascular diagnoses and evaluation of cardiac risk factors. Results: At a median of 12 years post-RT the incidence of cardiac diagnostic test abnormalities among symptomatic left-sided irradiated women was significantly higher than the predicted incidence of cardiovascular disease in the patient population, 6/62 (9%) predicted vs. 24/62 (39%) observed, p = 0.001. As compared with patients with normal tests, patients with cardiac diagnostic test abnormalities had a larger median central lung distance (2.6 cm vs. 2.2 cm, p = 0.01). Similarly, patients with vs. without congestive heart failure had a larger median central lung distance (2.8 cm vs. 2.3 cm, p = 0.008). Conclusions: Contemporary RT for early breast cancer may be associated with a small, but potentially avoidable, risk of cardiovascular morbidity that is associated with treatment technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-516
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008



  • Breast cancer
  • Cardiac effect
  • Radiation complications
  • Radiation therapy
  • Technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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