dr. Vincent Huybrechts (MD)
Doctoral fellow, Radiotherapy and experimental cancer research, campus UZ Gent
Principal investigator: prof. Liv Veldeman (MD, PhD)
Adjuvant radiation therapy has a well-established role in the treatment of breast cancer complementing surgery and systemic treatment, improving survival and local control in both local and regional disease. The long-term follow-up, however, does show increased cardiac morbidity and mortality. The risk of heart disease is greatest in patients receiving a higher heart dosage i.e., left sided breast cancer and irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes and does not appear to have a threshold. Lowering heart dose can be achieved by improved planning methods as well as increasing the distance between the target volume and the heart. A deep inspiration breath-hold (DIBH) is often used to this end.
An unassisted DIBH is between 12 and 30 seconds; a simple breast irradiation averages 4 DIBHS for completion. More advanced radiotherapy plans (including lymph nodes) needs up to 20 DIBHs. This great amount can be both physically and mentally exhausting.
The focus of my research is to increase the DIBH-times so they could be used in clinical practice whilst keeping the preparation short and simple and lower patient stress and discomfort.
Contact & links
- Lab address: Ghent University Hospital, Corneel Heymanslaan 10,