Three-dimensional Surface Imaging (3DSI) is a well-established method to objectively monitor morphological changes in the female breast in the field of plastic surgery. In contrast, in radiation oncology we are still missing effective tools, which can objectively and reproducibly assess and document adverse events in breast cancer radiotherapy within the framework of clinical studies. The aim of the present study was to apply structured-light technology as a non-invasive and objective approach for the documentation of cosmetic outcome and early effects of breast radiotherapy as a proof of principle.
Weekly 3DSI images of patients receiving either conventionally fractionated radiation treatment (CF-RT) or hypofractionated radiation treatment (HF-RT) were acquired during the radiotherapy treatment and clinical follow-up. The portable Artec Eva scanner (Artec 3D Inc., Luxembourg) recorded 3D surface images for the analysis of breast volumes and changes in skin appearance. Statistical analysis compared the impact of the two different fractionation regimens and the differences between the treated and the contralateral healthy breast.
Overall, 38 patients and a total of 214 breast imaging sessions were analysed. Patients receiving CF-RT showed a significantly higher frequency of breast erythema compared to HF-RT (93.3% versus 34.8%, p = 0.003) during all observed imaging sessions. Moreover, we found a statistically significant (p < 0.05) volumetric increase of the treated breast of the entire cohort between baseline (379 ± 196 mL) and follow-up imaging at 3 months (437 ± 224 mL), as well as from week 3 of radiotherapy (391 ± 198 mL) to follow-up imaging. In both subgroups of patients undergoing either CF-RT or HF-RT, there was a statistically significant increase (p < 0.05) in breast volumes between baseline and 3 months follow-up. There were no statistically significant skin or volumetric changes of the untreated healthy breasts.
This is the first study utilizing 3D structured-light technology as a non-invasive and objective approach for the documentation of patients receiving breast radiotherapy. 3DSI offers potential as a non-invasive tool to objectively and precisely monitor the female breast in a radiooncological setting, allowing clinicians to objectively distinguish outcomes of different therapy modalities.