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Boost Radiotherapy Effective for Early Breast Cancer

Researchers find that extra dose nearly doubles local relapse-free survival at 10 years

MONDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- In younger women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a boost radiotherapy dose to the tumor site after whole breast irradiation may reduce the risk of relapse after breast-conserving surgery, according to a study published online July 6 in The Lancet Oncology.

Guenther Gruber, M.D., of the Institute of Radiation Oncology, Kantonsspital in Aarau, Switzerland, and colleagues studied 373 DCIS patients aged 45 or younger who had undergone breast-conserving surgery. Fifty-seven (15 percent) of the patients had no radiotherapy after surgery, 166 (45 percent) had radiotherapy without boost (median dose 50 Gy; range 40-60) and 150 (40 percent) had radiotherapy with a boost (median dose 60 Gy; range 53-76).

After a median follow-up of 72 months, the researchers found that local relapse-free survival at 10 years was 46 percent for those who had no radiotherapy, 72 percent for those given radiotherapy without boost and 86 percent for those given radiotherapy and boost.

"According to guidelines and recent overviews, new studies to answer the boost question also in DCIS are encouraged," the authors conclude. "Our findings clearly suggest that the radiation dose is very important for local tumor control for patients with DCIS aged 45 years or younger. However, because of our study's limitations, our results can only generate hypotheses, and data from large randomized trials should answer the boost question, especially in patients with DCIS who are at high risk for local relapse."

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