Special Feature: Review Article New trends in radiation therapy as a component of breast conserving therapy

Breast Cancer

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 101-107

First online:

Current status of accelerated partial breast irradiation

  • Michihide MitsumoriAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology and Image-applied Therapy, Graduate School of Medicine Kyoto University Email author 
  • , Masahiro HiraokaAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology and Image-applied Therapy, Graduate School of Medicine Kyoto University

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Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) is a radiotherapy method used in breast-conserving therapy. In APBI, the tumor bed is topically irradiated over a short period after breast-conserving surgery. The fundamental concept underlying APBI is that more than 70% of ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence occurs in the neighborhood of the original tumor, and that hypofractionated radiotherapy can be applied safely when the irradiated volume is small enough. It is expected to reduce the time and cost required for conventional whole breast irradiation while maintaining equivalent local control. Several techniques including multicatheter interstitial brachytherapy, intracavitary brachytherapy, intraoperative radiation therapy, and 3D conformal external beam radiation therapy have been proposed, and each of them has its own advantages and drawbacks. Although APBI is increasingly used in the United States and Europe, and the short-term results are promising, its equivalence with whole breast radiation therapy is not fully established. In addition, because the average breast size in Japan is considerably smaller than in the West world, the application of APBI to Japanese patients is technically more challenging. At this point, APBI is still an investigational treatment in Japan, and the optimal method of radiation delivery as well as its long-term efficacy and safety should be clarified in clinical trials.


Breast cancer Breast conserving therapy Radiation therapy Accelerated partial breast irradiation