Hypofractionated irradiation found non-inferior to standard radiation in node-negative breast cancer

-- Eric Metcalf

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 (Last Updated: 02/11/2010)

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Whole-breast irradiation spread over fewer days (accelerated, hypofractionated radiation) following breast-conserving surgery for cancer appears non-inferior to standard radiation treatment, according to research published in the Feb. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. This adds to a study recently released Online First in The Lancet Oncology, which showed that hypofractionated radiotherapy for breast cancer patients may provide a better quality of life with no evidence of an increase in adverse effects.

Timothy J. Whelan, of McMaster University and Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,234 women with invasive breast carcinoma with negative axillary nodes treated with breast-conserving surgery. Women were randomized to receive 50 Gy of whole-breast irradiation in 25 fractions over 35 days, or 42.5 Gy in 16 fractions over 22 days, the latter of which was dubbed the hypofractionated-radiation group.

The researchers found that the risk of local recurrence at 10 years was similar in the groups (6.7 percent in the standard group versus 6.2 percent in the hypofractionated group), and so was a good or excellent cosmetic outcome at 10 years (71.3 versus 69.8 percent).

"In conclusion, our long-term results provide support for the use of accelerated, hypofractionated, whole-breast irradiation in selected women with node-negative breast cancer after breast-conserving surgery. For women with breast cancer who are similar to the patients in this trial, an abbreviated course of radiation therapy should be more convenient and less costly than standard treatment," the authors write.

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Specialties Oncology
Internal Medicine
OBGYN & Women's Health
Family Practice

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