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ASTRO: Short Course of Breast Cancer Irradiation Effective

Related study shows that radiation to the internal mammary lymph nodes does not improve survival

THURSDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A three week course of radiation treatment may be as effective as six weeks or more in patients with early-stage breast cancer, according to research presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Nov. 1 to 5 in Chicago. In a related study presented at the meeting, adding radiation to the internal mammary lymph nodes does not improve survival in patients with early-stage breast cancer.

Manjeet Chadha, M.D., and colleagues from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City examined whether a three week accelerated protocol of whole breast radiation therapy and a boost to the lumpectomy site could substitute for the conventional six to seven week treatment in 105 patients with early-stage breast. At a median follow-up of 24 months, they observed no local or regional relapse, no high-grade toxicity, no late soft tissue toxicity, no significant negative effect on the cosmetic result, and a five-year overall survival of 95 percent.

Pascale Romestaing, M.D., from the Centre de Radiotherapie Charcot in Ste Foy Les Lyon, France, and colleagues randomly assigned 1,334 women with newly diagnosed stage I and stage II breast cancer to chest wall, axillary and supraclavicular irradiation alone or plus internal mammary chain irradiation (IMC-RT). During a median follow-up of ten years, they found that ten-year survival was similar with or without IMC-RT (62.57 versus 59.55 percent). Subgroup analysis based on treatment, node status, tumor location, or tumor histological subtype did not identify any differences between groups.

"IMC-RT did not improve overall survival in this large randomized study," Romestaing and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Chadha
Abstract - Romestaing
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