Measurement of absorbed dose to the skin and its relation with microcircular changes in breast cancer radiotherapy

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Fysikum

Abstract: Radiation therapy has been shown to increase local and regional control as well as overall survival with breast cancer, but the vast majority of patients develop acute skin reactions, which are in part related to microvascular changes. These reactions vary between different skin sites. The aim of this work is to determine the absorbed dose to the skin by measurements and investigate if there is a correlation between the absorbed dose at different areas of the breast and the local changes in microcirculation in the skin after breast cancer radiotherapy. The study includes characterisation of the Gafchromic EBT3 film and Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner which are used for absorbed dose determination. The measurements were done both on an anthropomorphic female phantom and on a patient undergoing breast cancer radiotherapy. Twenty-one pieces offilm (2x1 cm2) were placed on the surface of the breast (both for the phantom and patient) and irradiated with a prescribed dose to the target of 2.66 Gy with two opposed fields using 6 MV beam. It was observed that mainly 45-64 % of the prescribed dose was deposited at the surface, both for the phantom and patient. Using laser speckle contrast imaging and polarised light spectroscopy, the regional changes in mean blood perfusion and in mean red blood cell concentration (RBCC) at the end of the treatment with a total prescribed dose of 42.6 Gy, compared to baseline, were measured in both the treated and untreated breast of the same patient. Although marked increases in perfusion were seen in different areas of the treated breast, there was no significant correlation between the changes in perfusion and the absorbed dose at these areas. However, a statistical correlation was found between the changes in RBCC and the absorbed skin dose at the same areas. To further elucidate the relation between the changes in skin microcirculation and the absorbed radiation dose during breast cancer radiotherapy, future studies using a larger number of patients are needed.

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