Publication Date


Journal Title

Adv Radiat Oncol


© 2018 The Authors Purpose: Hypofractionation (HF) of whole breast irradiation has become a standard treatment regimen because randomized trials continue to demonstrate equivalence in survival and local control compared with conventional fractionation. In 2011, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) adopted clinical guidelines on the proper selection of HF. Nevertheless, utilization remains lower than predicted. We evaluate the effects of clinical directives that serve as default treatment decisions and prospective contouring rounds on the implementation of HF in a large, multicenter radiation oncology department. Methods and materials: In 2010, we implemented consensus-driven and evidence-based clinical directives to guide treatment decisions. Five directives were available for adjuvant breast cancer treatment, including conventional fractionation and HF approaches, and were selected on the basis of disease specifics and clinical judgment. In 2012, we instituted prospective contouring rounds wherein the treating physicians presented their directive selection and patient contours for peer-review and consensus opinion. For this study, charts for patients with early stage breast cancer were reviewed. A total of 1043 cases of breast cancer were identified. Patients receiving HF were analyzed on the basis of the ASTRO 2011 guidelines and adherence to our more inclusive clinical directives. Results: For the ASTRO-endorsed group (n = 685), 49% of patients received HF in 2011, and 80% received HF in 2015. For the directives-endorsed group (n = 1042), 47% of patients received HF in 2011, and 73% received HF in 2015. Conclusions: HF is underutilized despite equivalent local control, superior toxicity profile, and noninferior late effects. Our study demonstrates the possibility of achieving high levels of utilization in a large, multisite, outpatient setting. Factors responsible may include default rules established through the development of consensus-based treatment directives, peer review by faculty, and strong financial leadership to implement HF when indicated. To our knowledge, this is the first example of combining both consensus-based treatment directives and prospective contouring rounds in an attempt to change practice patterns.

Volume Number


Issue Number



265 - 270

Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department

Radiation Medicine