Three RCTs were included in the review (n=1,140 participants, range 174 to 708). Only two trials described the reasons for withdrawals and used intention-to-treat analyses. Randomisation and allocation concealment were adequate in two trials. Median duration of follow-up ranged from 65 to 96 months.
There were no significant differences in the rates of overall survival, distant metastasis and supraclavicular recurrences between partial and whole breast radiation arms. Compared with whole breast radiation, partial breast irradiation was significantly associated with an increased rate of local recurrences (OR 2.150, 95% CI 1.396 to 3.312; three RCTs) and axillary recurrences (OR 3.430, 95% CI, 2.058 to 5.715; three RCTs).
No significant heterogeneity was observed for any of these outcomes.