Background: The treatment of lymph nodes engaged in breast cancer with radiotherapy leads to improved locoregional control and enhanced survival rates in patients after surgery. The aim of this study was to compare two treatment techniques, namely single anterior posterior (AP) supraclavicular field with plan depth and two anterior and posterior opposed (AP/PA) supraclavicular fields. In the study, we also examined the relationships between the depth of supraclavicular lymph nodes (SCLNs) and the diameter of the wall of the chest and body mass index (BMI).

Methods: Forty patients with breast cancer were analyzed using computed tomography (CT) scans. In planning target volume (PTV), the SCLNs and axillary lymph nodes (AXLNs) were contoured, and, with the attention to PTV, supraclavicular (SC) depth was measured. The dosage that reached the aforementioned lymph nodes and the level of hot spots were investigated using two treatment methods, i.e., 1) AP/PA and 2) AP with three-dimensional (3D) planning. Each of these methods was analyzed using the program Isogray for the 6 MV compact accelerator, and the diameter of the wall of the chest was measured using the CT scan at the center of the SC field. 

Results: Placing the plan such that 95% of the target volume with 95% or greater of the prescribed dose of 50 Gy (V95) had ≥95% concordance in both treatment techniques. According to the PTV, the depth of SCLNs and the diameter of the wall of the chest were 3-7 and 12-21cm, respectively. Regression analysis showed that the mean SC depth (the mean Plan depth) and the mean diameter of the wall of the chest were related directly to BMI (p<0.0001, adjusted R2=0.67) and (p<0.0001, adjusted R2=0.71), respectively.

Conclusion: The AP/PA treatment technique was a more suitable choice of treatment than the AP field, especially for overweight and obese breast cancer patients. However, in the AP/PA technique, the use of a single-photon, low energy (6 MV) caused more hot spots than usual.


Key words: Breast cancer; Supraclavicular; Axillary; Lymph node; Body Mass Index (BMI)
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