The omission of radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery for early-stage breast cancer is associated with higher rates of relapse and a slightly higher mortality rate, according to a study in the January 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Many studies have shown that women with early-stage breast cancer who have breast-conserving surgery followed by radiotherapy have similar survival rates as women who have a mastectomy, and those women are also spared the disfiguration of losing their breast. However, radiotherapy prolongs the length of time that women are treated for breast cancer, the treatment can be costly, radiotherapy facilities are not common in all areas, and there are some side effects to radiotherapy.
For these reasons, several studies have examined the consequences of omitting radiotherapy from the treatment regimen. Vincent Vinh-Hung, M.D., of the Oncology Center at Academic Hospital in Jette, Belgium, and colleagues performed a pooled analysis of 15 randomized clinical trials of women with early-stage breast cancer who underwent breast-conserving surgery alone or surgery followed by radiotherapy. They analyzed recurrence rates based on information from 9,422 women, and mortality information was available for 8,206 women.
Katherine Arnold | EurekAlert!
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