Tissue Fibrosis after Radiation Treatment for Breast Cancer

  • Kristin A. Plichta
  • Wenqing Sun
  • John M. BuattiEmail author


Radiation-induced fibrosis (RIF) is a late side effect from radiation therapy, occurring 4–12 months after radiation therapy, and can be seen in approximately 5–30% of patients receiving radiation therapy to the breast or chest wall. Typical effects of RIF include decreased tissue compliance, atrophy, skin retraction, and induration. Factors influencing the development of RIF include radiation dose, volume, radiation treatment technique, surgical complications, and the use of chemotherapy. Patient-related factors such as age, breast size, genetic background, and expression of molecular markers during radiation therapy are also associated with the development of RIF. Radiation-induced fibrosis may be partially reversible, and treatment strategies to potentially ameliorate the effects of RIF include physical therapy, medical management, and surgery. However, many of these techniques are preliminary, and further research is necessary before widespread clinical adoption.


Radiation-induced fibrosis Breast fibrosis Tissue compliance meter Pentoxifylline Vitamin E 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin A. Plichta
    • 1
  • Wenqing Sun
    • 1
  • John M. Buatti
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa CityUSA

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