American Society for Radiation Oncology

View all recommendations from this society

Released September 23, 2013

Don’t initiate whole breast radiotherapy as a part of breast conservation therapy in women age ≥ 50 with early stage invasive breast cancer without considering shorter treatment schedules.

Whole breast radiotherapy decreases local recurrence and improves survival of women with invasive breast cancer treated with breast conservation therapy. Most studies have utilized “conventionally fractionated” schedules that deliver therapy over 5–6 weeks, often followed by 1–2 weeks of boost therapy.

Recent studies, however, have demonstrated equivalent tumor control and cosmetic outcome in specific patient populations with shorter courses of therapy (approximately 4 weeks). Patients and their physicians should review these options to determine the most appropriate course of therapy.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

1–5: Following approval of the participation of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in the Choosing Wisely campaign, a survey was sent to ASTRO committees and panels related to health policy, government relations, and clinical affairs and quality in order to identify potential items for inclusion in the list. A work group, comprised of seven physicians drawn from these three areas, was also selected and convened. The work group members were asked to pick their top eight items from the total of 34 topics that had been suggested in the initial survey. The results were tabulated and a list of the highest scoring items generated, creating a short list of 13 draft items.

Three conference calls were subsequently held to further refine the list and finalize the wording of the items based on input from ASTRO’s Board of Directors. A literature review was conducted for each topic by ASTRO staff and each work group member took the lead on writing text and selecting references for one or more draft items. The final items for submission were selected by ASTRO’s Board of Directors. ASTRO’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at: www.astro.org.

6–10: In January 2014, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) formed a group to develop its second Choosing Wisely list, which included representatives from health policy, government relations, and clinical affairs and quality. The work group began by narrowing a list of 28 draft concepts to nine potential Choosing Wisely items. Next, an electronic anonymous survey was sent to the ASTRO membership to rate the value and relevancy of each of the items. The survey also included an open text box for members to comment on the suggested items and to provide additional ideas for Choosing Wisely items. Based on the survey results, the work group submitted a short list of eight items to the ASTRO Board of Directors, from which the Board chose five items to move forward.

Literature reviews were conducted for the five Choosing Wisely items selected by the Board and the group drafted verbiage, bullet points and references for each item. Following a second review by the Board of Directors, one of the items was replaced with an alternate item from the short list. The final list received approval from the Board and was then submitted to the ABIM Foundation. ASTRO’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at: www.astro.org.

Sources

Clarke M, Collins R, Darby S, Davies C, Elphinstone P, Evans E, Godwin J, Gray R, Hicks C, James S, MacKinnon E, McGale P, McHugh T, Peto R, Taylor C, Wang Y; Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG). Effects of radiotherapy and of differences in the extent of surgery for early breast cancer on local recurrence and 15-year survival: an overview of the randomized trials. Lancet. 2005 Dec 17;366(9503):2087–2106.

Smith BD, Bentzen SM, Correa CR, Hahn CA, Hardenbergh PH, Ibbott GS, McCormick B, McQueen JR, Pierce LJ, Powell SN, Recht A, Taghian AG, Vicini FA, White JR, Haffty BG. Fractionation for whole breast irradiation: an American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) evidence-based guideline. Int J Radiation Oncology Biol Phys. 2011 Sep 1;81(1):59–68.

Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG), Darby S, McGale P, Correa C, Taylor C, Arriagada R, Clarke M, Cutter D, Davies C, Ewertz M, Godwin J, Gray R, Pierce L, Whelan T, Wang Y, Peto R. Effect of radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery on 10-year recurrence and 15-year breast cancer death: meta-analysis of individual patient data for 10,801 women in 17 randomised trials. Lancet. 2011 Nov 12;378(9804):1707–16.

Haviland JS, Owen JR, Dewar JA, Agrawal RK, Barrett J, Barrett-Lee PJ, Dobbs HJ, Hopwood P, Lawton PA, Magee BJ, Mills J, Simmons S, Sydenham MA, Venables K, Bliss JM, Yarnold JR; START Trialists’ Group.The UK Standardisation of Breast Radiotherapy (START) trials of radiotherapy hypofractionation for treatment of early breast cancer: 10-year follow-up results of two randomised controlled trials. Lancet Oncol. 2013 Oct;14(11):1086-94.