APBI (Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation)

APBI, or accelerated partial breast irradiation, is a localized type of radiation therapy that specifically treats an area of a breast from which a tumor was removed. This treatment is most commonly recommended following breast-conserving surgery for early-stage breast cancer, provided that the tumor was small, the surgical margins are clear (the surgeon believes that all cancer was removed) and there are no signs of cancer in the lymph nodes.

APBI offers several advantages over traditional radiation therapy. Because the radiation beams used in accelerated partial breast irradiation are so narrowly focused, exposure to healthy organs and tissues in the surrounding area – including the heart, lungs, ribs, muscles and skin – can be minimized. Additionally, APBI is administered on a condensed schedule – usually over the course of several days in contrast to the several weeks typically required for other forms of radiation treatment.

APBI can be given in different ways, including:

  • Brachytherapy – A specialized catheter containing radioactive seeds is placed directly into a cavity left behind after the surgical removal of a breast tumor. The device is kept in place for a prescribed length of time (usually several days). Commonly used after a lumpectomy, this type of APBI can deliver a consistent dosage of radiation and potentially shorten a patient’s treatment time.
  • TomoTherapy – This advanced type of external beam radiation therapy combines the use of three-dimensional images with the delivery of high-energy beams to selectively target and destroy cancerous cells. Through a process known as optimized treatment planning, a radiation oncologist can determine the appropriate radiation dosage for a patient, as well as acceptable levels of exposure for nearby tissues and organs, in order to enhance treatment effectiveness and facilitate a quick recovery.

State-of-the-art breast cancer imaging and treatment technologies are available at Moffitt Cancer Center. However, we firmly believe that it takes much more than the latest equipment to provide effective radiation therapy. The optimal delivery of APBI is highly dependent on the expertise of the team behind the equipment. This is one way in which Moffitt stands apart from most other cancer centers.

Moffitt’s collaborative team of radiation oncologists has the technical expertise necessary to precisely perform and administer advanced radiation therapy treatments, including APBI. Each member of our multispecialty tumor board is highly experienced in treating breast cancer and specializes in one specific aspect of the treatment planning and delivery process. Additionally, to ensure the best possible outcomes and quality of life for our patients, we customize each radiation therapy plan based on the type and stage of a patient’s cancer and other individual factors.

To learn more about APBI and other types of radiation therapy for breast cancer, call 1-888-MOFFITT or request an appointment by completing a new patient registration form online. No referrals are necessary.