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Can we treat with radiation breast cancer patients with covid-19 infection? Results from a prospective study

Abstract : Purpose The coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-Cov-2) is at the origin of a global pandemic. This pandemic has prompted the current health system to reorganize and rethink the care offered by health establishments. We report the early and late toxicity in patients infected with covid-19 treated at the same time for early-stage breast cancer. Material and methods This is a monocentric prospective study of patients treated in our hospital between March and June 2020 who were diagnosed with covid-19 infection. The inclusion criteria were to be irradiated for early-stage breast cancer and to have a positive covid diagnosis on a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and/or a lung computed tomography (CT) scan and/or suggestive clinical symptoms. All of them needed 6 months follow-up clinic after the end of the radiotherapy with clinical examination, mammogram, as well as CT scan to evaluate the lung status. Radiotherapy consisted of breast or chest wall irradiation with or without lymph node irradiation, with protocols adapted to pandemic situation. The treatment-related toxicity was graded according to the Common Toxicology Criteria for Adverse Events (version 4.03). Results All 350 patients treated for early-stage breast cancer were studied. Of them, 16 presented clinical symptoms of covid-19 infection, and of them 12 had clinical, CT scan and PCR confirmation. This entire cohort of 12 patients with median age of 56 years (range: 42–72 years) underwent their radiotherapy. During the radiotherapy, nine patients presented radiodermatitis: eight grade 1 (66%) and one grade 2 (8%). Two patients with lymph nodes irradiation presented grade 2 oesophagitis. Late toxicity was evaluated 6 months after the end of the radiotherapy, and there was no radiation or covid lung sequel on the CT scans. One patient presented covid-related dyspnoea, and two had fibrosis. Conclusion The half-year follow-up of prospective covid-19 cohort, treated for early-stage breast cancer demonstrated an acceptable toxicity profile with few low-grade adverse events. It seems that the covid-19 infection does not appear to increase the side effects of radiotherapy. Therefore radiotherapy should not be delayed.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 2, 2022 - 1:50:47 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, September 3, 2022 - 3:53:44 AM

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S. Allali, V. Servois, A. Beddok, A. Fourquet, Y. Kirova. Can we treat with radiation breast cancer patients with covid-19 infection? Results from a prospective study. Cancer/Radiothérapie, Elsevier Masson, 2022, ⟨10.1016/j.canrad.2021.10.011⟩. ⟨hal-03594103⟩

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