American Society for Radiation Oncology

Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question

Released September 23, 2013

Download PDF
1

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.
2

Don’t initiate management of low-risk prostate cancer without discussing active surveillance.

  • Patients with prostate cancer have a number of reasonable management options. These include surgery and radiation, as well as conservative monitoring without therapy in appropriate patients.
  • Shared decision-making between the patient and the physician can lead to better alignment of patient goals with treatment and more efficient care delivery.
  • ASTRO has published patient-directed written decision aids concerning prostate cancer and numerous other types of cancer. These types of instruments can give patients confidence about their choices, improving compliance with therapy.
3

Don’t routinely use extended fractionation schemes (>10 fractions) for palliation of bone metastases.

  • Studies suggest equivalent pain relief following 30 Gy in 10 fractions, 20 Gy in 5 fractions, or a single 8 Gy fraction.
  • A single treatment is more convenient but may be associated with a slightly higher rate of retreatment to the same site.
  • Strong consideration should be given to a single 8 Gy fraction for patients with a limited prognosis or with transportation difficulties.
4

Don’t routinely recommend proton beam therapy for prostate cancer outside of a prospective clinical trial or registry.

  • There is no clear evidence that proton beam therapy for prostate cancer offers any clinical advantage over other forms of definitive radiation therapy. Clinical trials are necessary to establish a possible advantage of this expensive therapy.
5

Don’t routinely use intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) to deliver whole breast radiotherapy as part of breast conservation therapy.

  • Clinical trials have suggested lower rates of skin toxicity after using modern 3-D conformal techniques relative to older methods of 2-D planning.
  • In these trials, the term “IMRT” has generally been applied to describe methods that are more accurately defined as field-in-field 3-D conformal radiotherapy.
  • While IMRT may be of benefit in select cases where the anatomy is unusual, its routine use has not been demonstrated to provide significant clinical advantage.
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.

ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals that specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.

How this list was created: 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.

Sources

1.

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.

2.

Dahabreh IJ, Chung M, Balk EM, Yu WW, Mathew P, Lau J, Ip S. Active surveillance in men with localized prostate cancer: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Apr 17;156(8):582–90.

Wilt TJ, Brawer MK, Jones KM, Barry MJ, Aronson WJ, Fox S, Gingrich JR, Wei JT, Gilhooly P, Grob BM, Nsouli I, Iyer P, Cartagena R, Snider G, Roehrborn C, Sharifi R, Blank W, Pandya P, Andriole GL, Culkin D, Wheeler T; Prostate Cancer Intervention versus Observation Trial (PIVOT) Study Group. Radical prostatectomy versus observation for localized prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2012 Jul 19;367(3):203–13.

Bill-Axelson A, Holmberg L, Ruutu M, Garmo H, Stark JR, Busch C, Nordling S, Häggman M, Andersson SO, Bratell S, Spångberg A, Palmgren J, Steineck G, Adami HO, Johansson JE; SPCG-4 Investigators. Radical prostatectomy versus watchful waiting in early prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2011 May 5;364(18):1708–17.

Thompson I, Thrasher JB, Aus G, Burnett AL, Canby-Hagino ED, Cookson MS, D’Amico AV, Dmochowski RR, Eton DT, Forman JD, Goldenberg SL, Hernandez J, Higano CS, Kraus SR, Moul JW, Tangen CM; AUA Prostate Cancer Clinical Guideline Update Panel. Guideline for the management of clinically localized prostate cancer: 2007 update. J Urol. 2007 Jun;177(6):2352–6.

Klotz L, Zhang L, Lam A, Nam R, Mamedov A, Loblaw A. Clinical results of long-term follow-up of a large, active surveillance cohort with localized prostate cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2010 Jan 1;28(1):126–31.

Stacey D, Bennett CL, Barry MJ, Col NF, Eden KB, Holmes-Rovner M, Llewellyn-Thomas H, Lyddiatt A, Légaré F, Thomson R. Decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Oct 5;10:CD001431.

3.

Lutz S, Berk L, Chang E, Chow E, Hahn C, Hoskin P, Howell D, Konski A, Kachnic L, Lo S, Sahgal A, Silverman L, von Gunten C, Mendel E, Vassil A, Bruner DW, Hartsell W; American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). Palliative radiotherapy for bone metastases: an ASTRO evidence-based guideline. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Mar 15;79(5):965–76.

Expert Panel On Radiation Oncology-Bone Metastases, Lutz ST, Lo SS, Chang EL, Galanopoulos N, Howell DD, Kim EY, Konski AA, Pandit-Taskar ND, Ryu S, Silverman LN, Van Poznak C, Weber KL.

ACR Appropriateness Criteria® non-spine bone metastases. J Palliat Med. 2012 May;15(5):521–26.

Chow E, Zheng L, Salvo N, Dennis K, Tsao M, Lutz S. Update on the systematic review of palliative radiotherapy trials for bone metastases. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2012 Mar;24(2):112–24.

4.

Mohler JL, Armstrong AJ, Bahnson RR, Boston B, Busby JE, D’Amico A, Eastham JA, Enke CA, George D, Horwitz EM, Huben RP, Kantoff P, Kawachi M, Kuettel M, Lange PH, Macvicar G, Plimack ER, Pow-Sang JM, Roach M 3rd, Rohren E, Roth BJ, Shrieve DC, Smith MR, Srinivas S, Twardowski P, Walsh PC. NCCN clinical practice guidelines in oncology: prostate cancer. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2010 Feb;8(2):162–200.

Sheets NC, Goldin GH, Meyer AM, Wu Y, Chang Y, Stürmer T, Holmes JA, Reeve BB, Godley PA, Carpenter WR, Chen RC. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, proton therapy, or conformal radiation therapy and morbidity and disease control in localized prostate cancer. JAMA. 2012 Apr 18;307(15):1611–20.

Yu JB, Soulos PR, Herrin J, Cramer LD, Potosky AL, Roberts KB, Gross CP. Proton versus intensity-modulated radiotherapy for prostate cancer: patterns of care and early toxicity. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Jan 2;105(1):25–32.

Coen JJ, Zietman AL, Rossi CJ, Grocela JA, Efstathiou JA, Yan Y, Shipley WU. Comparison of high-dose proton radiotherapy and brachytherapy in localized prostate cancer: a case-matched analysis. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jan 1;82(1): e25–31.

5.

Barnett GC, Wilkinson JS, Moody AM, Wilson CB, Twyman N, Wishart GC, Burnet NG, Coles CE. Randomized controlled trial of forward-planned intensity modulated radiotherapy for early breast cancer: interim results at 2 years. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Feb 1;82(2):715–23.

Donovan E, Bleakley N, Denholm E, Evans P, Gothard L, Hanson J, Peckitt C, Reise S, Ross G, Sharp G, Symonds-Tayler R, Tait D, Yarnold J; Breast Technology Group. Randomised trial of standard 2-D radiotherapy (RT) versus intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in patients prescribed breast radiotherapy. Radiother Oncol. 2007 Mar;82(3):254–64.

Pignol JP, Olivotto I, Rakovitch E, Gardner S, Sixel K, Beckham W, Vu TT, Truong P, Ackerman I, Paszat L. A multicenter randomized trial of breast intensity-modulated radiation therapy to reduce acute radiation dermatitis. J Clin Oncol. 2008 May 1;26(13): 2085–92.

Smith B, Pan I, Shih Y, Smith GL, Harris JR, Punglia R, Pierce LJ, Jagsi R, Hayman JA, Giordano SH, Buchholz TA. Adoption of intensity-modulated radiation therapy for breast cancer in the United States. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011 May 18;103(10):798–809.