Radiation therapy (RT) is essential in treating women with early stage breast cancer.
Early stage node-negative breast cancer (ESNNBC) offers a good prognosis; hence, late
effects of breast RT becomes increasingly important. Recent literature suggests a
potential for an increase in cardiac and pulmonary events after RT. However, these
studies have not taken into account the impact of newer and current RT techniques
that are now available. Hence, this review aimed to evaluate the clinical evidence
for each technique and determine the optimal radiation technique for ESNNBC treatment.
Currently, six RT techniques are consistently used and studied: 1) prone positioning,
2) proton beam RT, 3) intensity-modulated RT, 4) breath-hold, 5) partial breast irradiation,
and 6) intraoperative RT. These techniques show dosimetric promise. However, limited
data on late cardiac and pulmonary events exist due to challenges in long-term follow-up.
Moving forward, future studies are needed to validate the efficacy and clinical outcomes
of these current techniques.