Radiation for Lymphoma Can Increase Breast Cancer Risk

-- Jeff Muise

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Getting radiation treatments for Hodgkin's lymphoma increases the chance of eventually developing breast cancer with the risk highest for those whose radiation treatments occurred at a young age, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Marie L. De Bruin, Ph.D., of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues studied 1,122 females who had been treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma with radiation prior to the age of 51 years. The incidence of breast cancer in the cohort was compared to the general population. Breast cancer risk was analyzed based on radiation volume and hormone factors using multivariate Cox regression.

Overall, the researchers found that the incidence of breast cancer in the study cohort 30 years after Hodgkin's lymphoma radiation treatment was 19 percent, while for those treated before age 21 years, the incidence was 26 percent. Risk of breast cancer varied by radiation treatment type, with mantle field irradiation of the axillary, mediastinal, and neck nodes producing a 2.7-fold increased risk compared with mediastinal irradiation at similar doses. Women with 20 or more years of ovarian function after radiation therapy at age less than 31 years had higher risk of breast cancer than those with fewer than 10 years of ovarian function.

"Reduction of radiation volume appears to decrease the risk for breast cancer after Hodgkin's lymphoma. In addition, shorter duration of intact ovarian function after irradiation is associated with a significant reduction of the risk for breast cancer," the authors write.

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