Radiation-induced breast cancer

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 23 Mar 2023

Radiation-induced breast cancers are a potential long-term complication of radiotherapy to the chest, in particular, in those patients receiving irradiation for breast cancer or Hodgkin lymphoma

Besides breast cancer, sarcomas (breast angiosarcoma or osteosarcomas arising from the irradiated bones), lung cancermalignant pleural mesothelioma, and esophageal cancers are also potential induced malignancies in those patients receiving radiotherapy to the chest 2

The latency period since the completion of radiotherapy and the development of breast cancer has been reported in between 8 to 20 years 2

Risk of breast cancer is 75 times greater in those women that received radiation therapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma 1,2.

The most common histological subtypes of radiation-induced breast cancers are 3:

Besides location within the irradiated field 2, there are no other specific imaging features of the tumors themselves that differ radiation-induced from the sporadic breast cancers. Please refer to the parental article on breast cancer for further details. 

It is well-established that women that received thoracic radiotherapy before the age of 30 should be included earlier in the routine breast screening 1,2

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