Breast cancer patients who have radiotherapy targeted at the original tumour site experience fewer side effects five years after treatment than those who have whole breast radiotherapy, and their cancer is just as unlikely to return, according to trial results published in The Lancet recently. The Cancer Research UK-funded IMPORT LOW trial revealed that five years after treatment, almost all patients were disease free.
Researchers at 30 radiotherapy centres across the UK, including the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, studied more than 2,000 women aged 50 or over who had early stage breast cancer that was at a low risk of coming back. Cambridge was the highest recruiting radiotherapy centre and entered 333 patients into the trial.
Dr Charlotte Coles, Reader in Breast Radiation Oncology, Chief Investigator for the trial and first author of the publication, said: “We started this trial because there was evidence that if someone’s cancer returns, it tends to do so close to the site of the original tumour, suggesting that some women receive unnecessary radiation to the whole breast.”
“Now we have evidence to support the use of less, but equally effective, radiotherapy for selected patients. This radiation technique is very simple and uses existing standard radiotherapy equipment, with no additional resources. Therefore, we anticipate that these results will lead to both national and international uptake of this method of partial breast radiotherapy.” Read more…