Detection of a numeric value predictive of increased dose to left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) in radiotherapy of breast cancer

Rossella Di Franco, V. Ravo, V. Nieddu, A. Crispo, S. Falivene, F. M. Giugliano, A. Argenone, Valentina Borzillo, Fabrizio Cammarota, P. Muto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We have evaluated thoracic conformation of patients in order to derive a numeric value predictive of an increased dose to left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD), critical structure for the development of late radio induced cardiac morbidity. Methods: We have evaluated 91 patients (36–88 years) affected by breast cancer stage I–II (Tis–T1–2 N0–1), undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy with conventional fractionation. For each patient on CT images was measured the distance between the back face of the sternum (manubrium) and the anterior face of body of the corresponding vertebra (a), and the distance measured on the line at 45° between the vertebral body of the same vertebra and the back face of the rib corresponding (b). The a/b ratio showed values between 0.626 and 1.123. We used the median value (0.821) as cut-off to divide the patients in two groups. We calculated in both groups: Volume (Vol) heart, Vol LAD with an expansion of 0.6 mm; Dmean LAD (Gy); Dmax LAD (Gy); V10–V20–V30 (%) LAD and we correlated these values with parametric and non-parametric tests. Results: The Pearson test has showed a statistically significant correlation between Vol breast and V10, V20, V30 with borderline significance (p = 0.006; p = 0.02; p = 0.05). The data were confirmed by testing non-parametric Kendall (tau = 0.004; tau = 0.015; tau = 0.016) and Spearman (rho = 0.003; rho = 0.016; rho = 0.015). We conducted categorizing into quartiles of breast volume and evaluated the correlation with a/b. We have found a significative correlation (p = 0.01) between small Vol breast (≤660.23 cc) and a/b 660.23 cc) with a/b > 0.0821. From the evaluation of the distribution of V10 in the two groups taking account of the Dmean ≤5 or >5 significance was found with a/b; Chi square 0.009 (0.01). Values ≤5 were observed in women with a/b 5 in women with a/b > 0.0821. Conclusions: The geometric conformity of chest thorax considering a/b and the value of 0.0821 can reveals an important parameter in the selection of patients suitable for radiation therapy on left breast in order to evaluate the risk of late cardiac events. This consideration during treatment planning can change the technique or the set-up allowing the development of a customized plan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number841
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Breast cancer
  • Chest thorax
  • Coronary arteries
  • Heart
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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