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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 48

of 'Taxane-induced pulmonary toxicity'

Radiation pneumonitis in breast cancer patients treated with taxanes: does sequential radiation therapy lower the risk?
Beal K, Hudis C, Norton L, Wagman R, McCormick B
Breast J. 2005;11(5):317.
Taxanes are now routinely used in conjunction with radiation therapy (RT) as adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. Recent publications have reported several cases of radiation pneumonitis (RP) in patients receiving RT and taxane chemotherapy, thus raising concern as to the safety of this combination. To decrease the potential risk of RP, we sequenced RT after taxane chemotherapy with a target interval of 3-4 weeks in two consecutive institutional breast protocols. Forty patients were treated on two adjuvant systemic protocols consisting of modified radical mastectomy (n = 9) or breast-conserving surgery (n = 31), followed by adjuvant doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and a sequential taxane (ACT), followed by RT. All patients had either node-positive or high-risk node-negative breast cancer and were treated between October 2000 and September 2002. Postmastectomy, a median dose of 5040 cGy was delivered to the chest wall. After breast-conserving surgery, a median dose of 4680 cGy was delivered to the breast plus a 1400 cGy boost to the surgical cavity. Information regarding RP was gathered retrospectively by reviewing patient records. With a median follow-up of 28 months (range 6-42 months), no cases of clinical RP were identified and no local failures had occurred. The median time interval for all patients between the completion of chemotherapy and the initiation of RT was 34days (range 5-70 days). At the latest follow-up, 2 patients were diagnosed with metastatic disease and 38 patients were without evidence of disease. Sequencing of RT after taxane therapy with a target interval of 3-4 weeks does not appear to result in increased pulmonary toxicity and is associated with good local control.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.