IS Bhattacharya, JS Haviland, C Perotti, D Eaton, S Gulliford, E Harris, CE Coles, CC Kirwan, JM Bliss, AM Kirby, IMPORT Trialists
BACKGROUND: Seroma describes a collection of serous fluid within a cavity, occurring following surgery. Seroma is associated with normal tissue effects (NTE) following breast radiotherapy, as reported by clinicians and on photographs. This study investigates the association between seroma and the NTE breast appearance change collected using patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in IMPORT HIGH, as well as investigating the association between breast appearance change and patient/tumour/treatment factors. METHODS: Case-control methodology was used for seroma analysis within IMPORT HIGH. Cases were patients reporting moderate/marked breast appearance change and controls reported none/mild changes at year-3. One control was selected at random for each case. Seromas were graded as not visible/subtle or visible/highly visible on CT radiotherapy planning scans. Logistic regression tested associations, adjusting for patient/tumour/treatment factors. RESULTS: 1078/1149 patients consented to PROMs, of whom 836 (78%) reported whether they had 3-year breast appearance change; 231 cases and 231 controls were identified. 304/462 (66%) patients received chemotherapy. Seroma prevalence was 20% (41/202) in cases and 16% (32/205) in controls, and less frequent in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy [10% (24/246) compared with 29% (40/138) without]. Visible seroma was not significantly associated with breast appearance change [OR 1.38 (95%CI 0.83-2.29), p = 0.219]. Larger tumour size, haematoma, current smoking and body image concerns at baseline were independent risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: Seroma was not associated with patient-reported breast appearance change, but haematoma and smoking were significant risk factors. Lack of association may be related to lower prevalence of seroma compared with previous reports, perhaps reflecting patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy in whom seroma resolves prior to radiotherapy.