Proton therapy for the treatment of inflammatory breast cancer

Sayeh Fattahi, Trey C. Mullikin, Khaled A. Aziz, Arslan Afzal, Na L. Smith, Leah N. Francis, W. Scott Harmsen, David M. Routman, Nicholas B. Remmes, Safia K. Ahmed, Dean A. Shumway, Sean S. Park, Robert W. Mutter, Kimberly S. Corbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) poses a radiotherapeutic challenge due to dermal lymphatic involvement, which often necessitates larger target volumes and chest wall boosts, making advanced planning techniques attractive to reduce exposure to nearby organs. We report our experience with intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) for the treatment of IBC. Methods: Between 2016 and 2020, all IBC patients treated with adjuvant IMPT at our institution were identified. Overall survival (OS) and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Adverse events (AEs) were assessed using CTCAE version 5.0. Results: Nineteen patients were identified with median 24-month follow-up. CTVs included skin, chest wall, and regional lymph nodes. Median dose was 50 Gy in 25 fractions, with fifteen receiving chest wall boost (median 56.25 Gy in 25 fractions). During treatment, plan re-optimization was required in 9 (47%). Acute grade 3 dermatitis occurred in 2 (11%). Rib facture occurred in 4 (21%). One patient with pre-existing surgical seroma experienced a grade 3 fistula. Mean heart, left anterior descending artery, and right coronary artery doses were 0.7 Gy, 2.3 Gy, and 0.1 Gy, respectively. Mean ipsilateral lung V20Gy was 14.9%. At 2 years, there were no locoregional recurrences, and OS and DMFS were 89% and 82%, respectively. Conclusion: IMPT for IBC is well-tolerated with excellent dosimetry, low rates of AEs, and favorable early locoregional control outcomes. Follow-up for long-term outcomes is ongoing. Our findings suggest that IMPT is feasible and an attractive modality worthy of further investigation in patients with IBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Dose to organs at risk
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Intensity modulated proton therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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