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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 91

of 'Adjuvant radiation therapy for women with newly diagnosed, non-metastatic breast cancer'

Irradiation in the setting of collagen vascular disease: acute and late complications.
Morris MM, Powell SN
J Clin Oncol. 1997;15(7):2728.
PURPOSE: Based on reports of greater toxicity from radiation therapy, collagen vascular diseases (CVDs) have been considered a contraindication to irradiation. We assessed the complications of radiation therapy in patients with CVD.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 209 patients with documented CVD were irradiated between 1960 and 1995. One hundred thirty-one had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 25 had systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); 17 had polymyositis or dermatomyositis; 16 had scleroderma; eight had ankylosing spondylitis; five had juvenile RA; three had discoid lupus erythematosus; and four had 4 mixed connective tissue disorders (MCTD). The mean follow-up duration of curative cases was more than 6 years. Doses ranged from 10 to 87.6 Gy, with a median of 45 Gy.
RESULTS: Overall, 263 sites were assessable in 209 patients. Significant (>or = grade 3) acute toxicity was seen in 10% of irradiated sites. Severe late effects were associated with significant acute reactions and with non-RA CVDs (6% v 21% at 5 years). No difference was seen in late effects according to timing of CVD onset, presence of concurrent vascular insults,radiation dose, or other technical factors, or by measures of disease activity.
CONCLUSION: RA does not appear to have an elevated rate of late toxicity. While non-RA CVD is significantly associated with increased radiation late effects at standard doses, radiation-related mortality remains exceedingly rare. The choice of therapeutic modality in this radiosensitive group of patients should be made on a case-by-case basis.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospita, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA. morris@hadron.mgh.harvard.edu