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To conduct a randomized clinical trial to determine whether the combination of pentoxifylline (PTX) and vitamin E given for 6 months after breast/chest wall irradiation effectively prevents radiation-induced fibrosis (RIF). Fifty-three breast cancer patients with localized disease were enrolled and randomized to treatment with oral PTX 400 mg 3 times daily and oral vitamin E 400 IU daily for 6 months after radiation (n=26), or standard follow up (n=27). Tissue compliance meter (TCM) measurements were obtained at 18 months to compare tissue compliance in the irradiated and untreated breast/chest wall in treated subjects and controls. Measurements were obtained at 2 mirror image sites on each breast/chest wall, and the average difference in tissue compliance was scored. Differences in TCM measurements were compared using a t test. Subjects were followed a minimum of 2 years for local recurrence, disease-free survival, and overall survival. The mean difference in TCM measurements in the 2 groups was 0.88 mm, median of 1.00 mm (treated) and 2.10 mm, median of 2.4 mm (untreated). The difference between the 2 groups was significant (P=.0478). Overall survival (100% treated, 90.6% controls at 5 years) and disease-free survival (96.2% treated, 86.8% controls at 5 years) were not significantly different in the 2 groups. This study of postirradiation breast cancer patients treated with PTX/vitamin E or standard follow-up indicated a significant difference in radiation-induced fibrosis as measured by TCM. There was no observed impact on local control or survival within the first 2 years of follow-up. The treatment was safe and well tolerated. Pentoxifylline/vitamin E may be clinically useful in preventing fibrosis after radiation in high-risk patients. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Geraldine Jacobson, Sudershan Bhatia, Brian J Smith, Anna M Button, Kellie Bodeker, John Buatti. Randomized trial of pentoxifylline and vitamin E vs standard follow-up after breast irradiation to prevent breast fibrosis, evaluated by tissue compliance meter. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics. 2013 Mar 1;85(3):604-8

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PMID: 22846413

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