Introduction:Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the chest wall is a rare complication after whole-breast radiotherapy (RT). Herein, we report a case of ORN involving the underlying ribs following adjuvant whole-breast RT using standard fractionation and conduct a review of the literature.
Case Report: A previously well 43-year-old female with right-sided, early-stage, node-negative breast cancer was treated with breast-conserving surgery. She subsequently underwent adjuvant whole-breast RT receiving 50 Gy in 25 fractions over 5 weeks using standard tangential photon fields with 6 MV photons followed by an electron boost of 10 Gy in 5 fractions according to International Commission on Radiation Units (ICRU) requirements. Eleven months after RT, the patient developed right lateral chest wall pain, with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrating two fractures involving the underlying right fifth and sixth ribs associated with fatty marrow changes in the second to sixth ribs, thus raising the possibility of ORN. Treatments including hyperbaric oxygen, pentoxifylline and vitamin E were used with symptomatic improvements. There was demonstrable resolution on follow-up MRI at 2.5 years.
Conclusion: The incidence of ORN utilising modern RT techniques and standard fractionation is rare. Numerous treatments are available, with variable response rates. Emerging evidence of predictive gene profiling to estimate the risk of radiation sensitivity may assist in individualising preventative strategies to mitigate the risk of ORN.