Early cardiac perfusion defects after left-sided radiation therapy for breast cancer: is there a volume response?

Orit Kaidar-Person, Timothy M. Zagar, Jorge Daniel Oldan, Jason Matney, Ellen L. Jones, Shiva Das, Brian C. Jensen, Richard C. Zellars, Terence Z. Wong, Lawrence B. Marks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: Cardiac single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is often used to identify defects in myocardial perfusion due to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. It was also used in studies to evaluate radiation therapy (RT)-associated cardiac abnormalities. In the current review, we aim to evaluate the rates of post-RT cardiac SPECT early perfusion abnormalities and relate this to the irradiated left ventricular volume. Methods: The studies cited in this systematic review were identified using the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Results: Six studies between 1996 and 2016 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The reported perfusion defects in these studies were seen in the apical and anterolateral aspects of the left ventricle. Three studies show correlation between the percent of the left ventricle within the RT-field and percent of patients with early perfusion defects on cardiac SPECT. In two studies that used cardiac sparing techniques (such as deep inspiration), that resulted in a low mean heart dose, no perfusion defects were noted. Conclusions: Data suggest that incidental irradiation of the heart in cases of left breast/chest wall RT can result in early post-RT perfusion defects on cardiac SPECT. There appears to be strong dose/volume dependence to the risk, and hence techniques to reduce cardiac exposure are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-262
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast
  • Cancer
  • DIBH
  • Heart
  • Perfusion
  • Radiation


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