JAMA Netw Open 2021 Feb 01
Assessment of Toxic Effects Associated With Dose-Fractionated Radiotherapy Among Patients With Cancer and Comorbid Collagen Vascular Disease.   
ABSTRACT
Importance
The adoption of alternative fractionated radiotherapy regimens for the treatment of patients with cancer and comorbid collagen vascular disease (CVD) is controversial among oncologists because of concerns about potentially severe toxic effects; however, the association between fractionated radiotherapy and toxic effects in the modern era has not been well studied.
Objective
To compare acute and late toxic effects among patients with cancer and comorbid CVD who received dose-fractionated radiotherapy.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This retrospective cohort study examined 197 adult patients with cancer and CVD who received radiotherapy at a single-institution tertiary academic center over a 12-year period (February 1, 2007, to April 30, 2019), with a median follow-up of 23 months (range, 0-108 months). Data were analyzed from February 1 to August 31, 2020.
Exposures
Three dose-fractionated radiotherapy regimens: conventional fractionation (CF; ≤2 Gy per fraction), moderate hypofractionation (MH; >2 Gy to <5 Gy per fraction), and ultrahypofractionation (UH; ≥5 Gy per fraction).
Main Outcomes and Measures
The main outcomes were the incidence and severity of acute and late radiotherapy-associated toxic effects, which were assessed separately by dose-fractionation regimen. Toxic effects occurring within 90 days after radiotherapy completion were considered acute, and toxic effects occurring after that 90-day period were considered late. Secondary goals were to identify covariates associated with toxic effects and to characterize the incidence of CVD symptom flares (defined as worsening clinical symptoms and/or worsening results [transient or permanent] on associated blood tests compared with baseline, as documented by managing physicians) after radiotherapy.
Results
Of 197 patients with cancer and comorbid CVD (mean [SD] age, 69 [12] years; 134 women [68.0%]; and 149 White participants [75.6%]), 80 patients (40.6%) received CF radiotherapy, 55 patients (27.9%) received MH radiotherapy, and 62 patients (31.5%) received UH radiotherapy. The most common CVD diagnoses were rheumatoid arthritis (74 patients [37.6%]), psoriasis (54 patients [27.4%]), systemic lupus erythematosus (34 patients [17.3%]), and scleroderma (8 patients [4.1%]). The most common radiotherapy sites were the breast (48 patients [24.4%]), thorax (25 patients [12.7%]), central nervous system (24 patients [12.2%]), and prostate (23 patients [11.7%]). Data on acute toxic effects were available for 188 patients (95.4%) and missing for 9 patients (4.6%). Data on late toxic effects were available for 142 patients (72.1%) and missing for 55 patients (27.9%). Over 12 years, the unadjusted incidences of severe acute toxic effects associated with CF, MH, and UH radiotherapy were 5.4% (95% CI, 0.3%-10.5%), 7.4% (95% CI, 0.4%-14.4%), and 1.7% (95% CI, 0%-5.0%), respectively. The incidences of severe late toxic effects associated with CF, MH, and UH radiotherapy were 8.3% (95% CI, 1.3%-15.3%), 0%, and 2.2% (95% CI, 0%-6.4%), respectively. No significant associations were found between severe acute or late toxic effects by dose fractionation regimen. In the multivariable analysis, MH radiotherapy was associated with a lower likelihood of developing late toxic effects (odds ratio [OR], 0.21; 95% CI, 0.05-0.83; P = .03) compared with CF radiotherapy. Those who received UH radiotherapy had a lower likelihood of experiencing late toxic effects (OR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.04-1.21; P = .08). A total of 19 of 80 patients (23.8%), 15 of 55 patients (27.3%), and 10 of 62 patients (16.1%) experienced CVD symptom flares after receiving CF, MH, and UH radiotherapy, respectively (P = .33).
Conclusions and Relevance
In this study, the incidences of unadjusted severe toxic effects over 12 years were less than 10% and were not significantly associated with dose fractionation. When clinically indicated, patients with cancer and comorbid CVD may not require immediate exclusion from the receipt of currently used hypofractionated radiotherapy regimens.

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