Brunt, AM, Haviland, JS, Kirby, AM, Somaiah, N, Wheatley, DA, Bliss, JM and Yarnold, JR (2021) Five-fraction Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer: FAST-Forward to Implementation. Clinical Oncology. ISSN 0936-6555

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INTRODUCTION: The phase 3 FAST-Forward trial reported outcomes for 26 and 27 Gy schedules delivered in 5 fractions over 1 week versus 40 Gy in 15 fractions over 3 weeks in 4000 patients. We discuss concerns raised by the radiotherapy community in relation to implementing this schedule. IPSILATERAL BREAST TUMOUR RELAPSE (IBTR): Published estimated 5-year IBTR with 95% CI after 40 Gy in 15 fractions was 2.1% (95% CI 1.4-3.1), 1.7% (1.2-1.6) after 27 Gy and 1.4% (0.2-2.2) after 26 Gy, emphatically showing non-inferiority of the 5-fraction regimens. Subgroup analyses comparing IBTR in 26 Gy versus 40 Gy show no evidence of differential effect regarding age, grade, pathological tumour size, nodal status, tumour bed boost, adjuvant chemotherapy, HER2 status and triple negative status. The number of events in these analyses is small and results should be interpreted with caution. There was only 1 IBTR event post-mastectomy. NORMAL TISSUE EFFECTS: The 26 Gy schedule, on the basis of similar NTE to 40 Gy in 15 fractions, is the recommended regimen for clinical implementation. There is a low absolute rate of moderate/marked NTE, these are predominantly moderate not severe change. Subgroup analyses comparing clinician-assessed moderate or marked adverse effect for 26 Gy versus 40 Gy show no evidence of differential effects according to age, breast size, surgical deficit, tumour bed boost, or adjuvant chemotherapy. RADIOBIOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS: The design of the FAST-Forward trial does not control for time-related effects, and the ability to interpret clinical outcomes in terms of underlying biology is limited. There could conceivably be a time-effect for tumour control. A slight reduction in α/β estimate for the late normal tissue effects of test regimens might be a chance effect, but if real could reflect fewer consequential late effects due to lower rates of moist desquamation. CONCLUSION: The 26 Gy 5-fraction daily regimen for breast radiotherapy can be implemented now.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Ó 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The Royal College of Radiologists. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology > Physical medicine. Physical therapy. Including massage, exercise, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, phototherapy, radiotherapy, thermotherapy, electrotherapy
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
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Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 15:33
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 15:33

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