Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

PURPOSE: Previous reports suggest that radiation therapy for breast cancer (BC) can cause ischemic heart disease, with the radiation-related risk increasing linearly with mean whole heart dose (MWHD). This study aimed to validate these findings in younger BC patients and to investigate additional risk factors for radiation-related myocardial infarction (MI). METHODS AND MATERIALS: A nested case-control study was conducted within a cohort of BC survivors treated during 1970 to 2009. Cases were 183 patients with MI as their first heart disease after BC. One control per case was selected and matched on age and BC diagnosis date. Information on treatment and cardiovascular risk factors was abstracted from medical and radiation charts. Cardiac doses were estimated for each woman by reconstructing her regimen using modern 3-dimensional computed tomography planning on a typical patient computed tomography scan. RESULTS: Median age at BC of cases and controls was 50.2 years (interquartile range, 45.7-54.7). Median time to MI was 13.6 years (interquartile range, 9.9-18.1). Median MWHD was 8.9 Gy (range, 0.3-35.2 Gy). MI rate increased linearly with increasing MWHD (excess rate ratio [ERR] per Gy, 6.4%; 95% confidence interval, 1.3%-16.0%). Patients receiving ≥20 Gy MWHD had a 3.4-fold (95% confidence interval, 1.5-7.6) higher MI rate than unirradiated patients. ERRs were higher for younger women, with borderline significance (ERR<45years, 24.2%/Gy; ERR≥50years, 2.5%/Gy; Pinteraction = .054). Whole heart dose-volume parameters did not modify the dose-response relationship significantly. CONCLUSIONS: MI rate after radiation for BC increases linearly with MWHD. Reductions in MWHD are expected to contribute to better cardiovascular health of BC survivors.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys

Publication Date





595 - 604


Adult, Aged, Breast, Breast Neoplasms, Cancer Survivors, Case-Control Studies, Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation, Female, Humans, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Incidence, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Radiotherapy, Radiotherapy Dosage, Risk Factors, Young Adult