Some breast cancer radiation may be halved

June 29, 2012 at 11:06 PM
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NEW YORK, June 29 (UPI) -- An accelerated form of radiation for breast cancer increases the strength of the dose per treatment and requires fewer treatments, U.S. researchers say.

Senior author Dr. Silvia Formenti, a radiation oncologist at New York University School of Medicine, said mammography has led to a dramatic increase in the number of ductal carcinoma in situ instances detected -- one of the most common forms of breast cancer.

Multiple studies showed lumpectomy plus radiation significantly reduce the risk of recurrence in both non-invasive and invasive breast cancers, and for ductal carcinoma in situ, the current standard of treatment is lumpectomy followed by five to six weeks of whole breast radiation.

The researchers tracked 145 ductal carcinoma in situ patients who were treated with lumpectomy and accelerated whole breast irradiation, or lumpectomy with accelerated whole breast irradiation plus an additional daily boost.

Five years after treatment, 4.1 percent of patients experienced a recurrence, which is comparable to the 5 percent to 10 percent recurrence rate demonstrated in randomized trials for patients receiving standard radiation.

"The results of our study suggest that ductal carcinoma in situ patients can be safely treated with a shorter regimen of radiotherapy," Formenti said in a statement. "This is good news for many breast cancer patients who would prefer to receive their treatments in a shorter period of time, but also want the peace of mind that they are receiving the most effective treatment available."

The study was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology-Biology-Physics.

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