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Radiation to supraclavicular and internal mammary lymph nodes in breast cancer increases the risk of stroke

By G Nilsson, L Holmberg, H Garmo, A Terent and C Blomqvist


The aim of this study was to assess whether adjuvant treatment of breast cancer (BC) affects the risk of stroke, and to explore radiation targets and fraction doses regarding risk and location of stroke. In a Swedish BC cohort diagnosed during 1970–2003, we carried out a nested case–control study of stroke after BC, with relevant details extracted from medical records. The odds ratio (OR) for radiotherapy (RT) vs that of no RT did not differ between cases and controls (OR=0.85; confidence interval, CI=0.6–1.3). Radiotherapy to internal mammary chain (IMC) and supraclavicular (SCL) lymph nodes vs that of no RT was associated with a higher, although not statistically significant, risk of stroke (OR=1.3; CI=0.8–2.2). In a pooled analysis, RT to IMC and SCL vs the pooled group of no RT and RT to breast/chest wall/axilla (but not IMC and SCL), showed a significant increase of stroke (OR=1.8; CI=1.1–2.8). There were no associations between cancer laterality, targets of RT, and location of stroke. The radiation targets, IMC and SCL, showed a statistically significant trend for an increased risk of stroke with daily fraction dose. Our finding of a target-specific increased risk of stroke and a dose-response relationship for daily fraction dose, indicate that there may be a causal link between RT to the IMC and SCL and risk of stroke

Topics: Epidemiology
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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