Purpose Accelerated partial breast irradiation is a treatment option for selected patients with early-stage breast cancer. Some accelerated partial breast irradiation techniques lead to skin toxicity with the skin dose as a main risk factor. Biodegradable spacers are effective and safe in prostate brachytherapy to protect the rectum. We hypothesize that a subcutaneous spacer injection reduces the skin dose in breast brachytherapy. Methods and Materials Ultrasound-guided spacer injections, either hyaluronic acid (HA) or iodined polyethylene glycol (PEG), were performed on fresh mastectomy specimens. Success was defined as a spacer thickness of ≥5 mm in the high-dose skin area. Usability was scored using the system usability scale. Pre and postinjection CT scans were used to generate low-dose-rate seed brachytherapy treatment plans after defining a clinical target volume. Maximum dose to small skin volumes (D0.2cc) and existence of hotspots (isodose ≥90% on 1 cm2 of skin) were calculated as skin toxicity indicators. Results We collected 22 mastectomy specimens; half had HA and half had PEG injection. Intervention success was 100% for HA and 90.9% for PEG (p = NS). Hydrodissection was feasible in 81.8% with HA and 63.6% with PEG. Median system usability scale score was 97.5 for HA and 82.5 for PEG (p < 0.001). Mean D0.2cc was 80.8 Gy without spacer and 53.7 Gy with spacer (p < 0.001). Skin hotspots were present in 40.9% without spacer but none with spacer (p < 0.001). Conclusions A spacer injection in mastectomy specimens is feasible. An extra 5 mm space is always achieved, thereby potentially reducing the skin dose dramatically in low-dose-rate seed breast brachytherapy.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brachy.2018.11.003, hdl.handle.net/1765/116879
Journal Brachytherapy
Struik, G.M, Pigno, J.P., Kolkman-Deurloo, I.-K.K, Godart, J., Verduijn, G.M, Koppert, L.B, … Klem, T.M. (2019). Subcutaneous spacer injection to reduce skin toxicity in breast brachytherapy: A pilot study on mastectomy specimens. Brachytherapy, 18(2), 204–210. doi:10.1016/j.brachy.2018.11.003