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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI): A review of available techniques

Christopher F Njeh1*, Mark W Saunders1 and Christian M Langton2

Author Affiliations

1 Radiation Oncology Department, Texas Oncology Tyler, 910 East Houston Street, Tyler, Texas, USA

2 Physics, Faculty of Science and Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

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Radiation Oncology 2010, 5:90  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-5-90

Published: 4 October 2010

Abstract

Breast conservation therapy (BCT) is the procedure of choice for the management of the early stage breast cancer. However, its utilization has not been maximized because of logistics issues associated with the protracted treatment involved with the radiation treatment. Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) is an approach that treats only the lumpectomy bed plus a 1-2 cm margin, rather than the whole breast. Hence because of the small volume of irradiation a higher dose can be delivered in a shorter period of time. There has been growing interest for APBI and various approaches have been developed under phase I-III clinical studies; these include multicatheter interstitial brachytherapy, balloon catheter brachytherapy, conformal external beam radiation therapy and intra-operative radiation therapy (IORT). Balloon-based brachytherapy approaches include Mammosite, Axxent electronic brachytherapy and Contura, Hybrid brachytherapy devices include SAVI and ClearPath. This paper reviews the different techniques, identifying the weaknesses and strength of each approach and proposes a direction for future research and development. It is evident that APBI will play a role in the management of a selected group of early breast cancer. However, the relative role of the different techniques is yet to be clearly identified.