Risk of coronary artery disease after adjuvant radiotherapy in 29,662 early breast cancer patients: A population-based Danish Breast Cancer Group study

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PURPOSE: Radiotherapy (RT) for early breast cancer (BC) reduces the risk of recurrence and improves overall survival. However, thoracic RT may cause some incidental RT dose to the heart with subsequent risk of heart disease. During 2000-2010, CT-based RT planning was gradually introduced. The aim of this study was to investigate the risk of cardiac events in left-sided compared with right-sided BC patients treated during a non-CT-based (1999-2007) vs a CT-based period (2008-2016).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Information on BC and cardiac events among Danish women was obtained from population-based medical registers. Patients diagnosed with BC during 1999-2016, were included. A cardiac event was defined as coronary artery disease or severe valvular heart disease.

RESULTS: Among 29,662 patients, 22,056 received RT. For those irradiated during the non-CT-based period, the 10-year cumulative risk of cardiac event was 1.7% (95% CI 1.4-2.0) at median follow-up of 11.1 years. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) for cardiac event in left-sided vs right-sided patients was 1.44 (1.07-1.94) and a trend towards worse outcome was seen within the first 10 years after RT and approached statistical significance with longer follow-up. Among patients irradiated during the CT-based period, the 10-year cumulative risk of cardiac event was 2.1% (1.8-2.4) at median 6.8 years follow-up. The IRR for cardiac event in left-sided vs right-sided patients was 0.90 (0.69-1.16) and no trend towards worse outcome within the first 10 years was observed.

CONCLUSION: This study confirmed a higher risk of cardiac events in left-sided vs right-sided BC patients irradiated during a non-CT-based period. For patients irradiated during a CT-based period, no increased risk of cardiac events in left-sided vs right-sided patients was observed within the first 10 years after RT, whilst information on cardiac events beyond 10 years after RT was limited.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRadiotherapy & Oncology
Volume157
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
ISSN0167-8140
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

    Research areas

  • Breast cancer, Coronary artery disease, Long-term side effects, Radiotherapy, Valvular heart disease

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