Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1993 Jan;25(1):79-85.
Joint Center for Radiation Therapy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.
We retrospectively reviewed the response rate and the acute and long-term toxicity of combined treatment using radiation therapy, hyperthermia, and chemotherapy in 29 patients with locally or regionally recurrent or advanced adenocarcinoma of the breast who completed at least 4 of the 6 prescribedhyperthermia treatments as part of a Phase I-II trial. Thirty-nine separate hyperthermia treatment fields were evaluated. Cisplatin alone or cisplatin with etanidazole or bleomycin was delivered just prior to hyperthermia once weekly. Hyperthermia was delivered to a target minimum tumor temperature of 43 degrees C +/- 0.5 for 60 min. Following hyperthermia, a 400 cGy fraction of radiation was given. The radiation fraction size on other days was 200 cGy. Twenty-two fields had previously been irradiated and 17 fields had not. Prior chemotherapy had been given in 24 of 29 patients (83%) and hormonal therapygiven in 21 (72%). The median follow-up time is 10 months; 16/29 patients (55%) have died of disease. The overall complete response rate for all fields was 53%. Response rate was not related to any clinical factor, radiation dose, microwave or ultrasound technique, type of chemotherapy, or tumor temperatures, but the number of patients in the study population was small. A statistically significant association between the likelihood of complications and the total radiation therapy dose (previous radiation and present radiation) was found. Persistent ulceration lasting greater than 1 month after completing treatment was seen in 67% of previously irradiated fields compared to 21% of fields that had not been previously treated (p = 0.015). Surgical wound repair was needed for 38% of fields with a history of prior irradiation versus 6% of those without prior treatment (p = 0.050). A statistically significant radiation therapy dose response was found for the likelihood of these complications. None of the hyperthermia temperature parameters studied correlated with an increased risk of complication. We conclude that the combination of radiation therapy, hyperthermia, and chemotherapy results in a high rate of complete response. However, in patients who have been treated with prior radiation therapy, this combination may be more locally toxic than treatment with hyperthermia and radiationtherapy alone. The precise impact of chemotherapy on the therapeutic index of hyperthermia and radiation therapy remains to be determined in randomized clinical trials.