BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE To explore the feasibility of a multi-modality breast-conserving radiation therapy treatment technique to reduce high dose to the ipsilateral lung and the heart when compared with the conventional treatment technique using two tangential fields. MATERIALS AND METHODS An electron beam with appropriate energy was combined with four intensity modulated photon beams. The direction of the electron beam was chosen to be tilted 10-20 degrees laterally from the anteroposterior direction. Two of the intensity-modulated photon beams had the same gantry angles as the conventional tangential fields, whereas the other two beams were rotated 15-25 degrees toward the anteroposterior directions from the first two photon beams. An iterative algorithm was developed which optimizes the weight of the electron beam as well as the fluence profiles of the photon beams for a given patient. Two breast cancer patients with early-stage breast tumors were planned with the new technique and the results were compared with those from 3D planning using tangential fields as well as 9-field intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) techniques. RESULTS The combined electron and IMRT plans showed better dose conformity to the target with significantly reduced dose to the ipsilateral lung and, in the case of the left-breast patient, reduced dose to the heart, than the tangential field plans. In both the right-sided and left-sided breast plans, the dose to other normal structures was similar to that from conventional plans and was much smaller than that from the 9-field IMRT plans. The optimized electron beam provided between 70 to 80% of the prescribed dose at the depth of maximum dose of the electron beam. CONCLUSIONS The combined electron and IMRT technique showed improvement over the conventional treatment technique using tangential fields with reduced dose to the ipsilateral lung and the heart. The customized beam directions of the four IMRT fields also kept the dose to other critical structures to a minimum.