For patients with high-risk breast cancer treated with radical mastectomy and adjuvant chemotherapy, the addition of radiation therapy leads to better survival outcomes with few long-term toxic effects, according to a 20-year follow-up of a randomized trial, which appears in the January 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The British Columbia randomized radiation therapy trial was designed to determine the effect on survival of the addition of locoregional radiation therapy (radiation to the lymph nodes and chest wall) to a course of chemotherapy after radical mastectomy in premenopausal women with lymph node–positive breast cancer. Between 1979 and 1986, 318 patients were randomly assigned to receive no radiation therapy or to receive radiation. A 15-year follow-up found that radiation therapy was associated with improved breast cancer survival but not with overall survival.
In this 20-year follow-up of the British Columbia trial, Joseph Ragaz, M.D., of McGill University Health Center in Montreal, and colleagues found that the chemotherapy and radiation regimen, compared with chemotherapy alone, was associated with improvement in all end points analyzed. This included a 32% reduction in breast cancer mortality and a 27% reduction in overall mortality compared with chemotherapy alone. In addition, long-term toxic effects, including cardiac deaths, were acceptable for both groups of patients. "Our results, and those from other groups, confirm that in situations where residual disease remains, adjuvant chemotherapy alone in high-risk breast cancer patients is suboptimal and that the addition of locoregional radiation therapy is important to achieve the highest cure rate," the authors write.
Sarah L. Zielinski | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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