Breast Cancer

Partial Breast Radiation As Effective As Whole Breast Therapy

Women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with a one-week regimen of partial breast radiation after their lumpectomy showed no increase in cancer recurrence or difference in cosmetic results compared to women who received post—surgical radiation of the entire breast for up to six weeks.

The two-decade study, conducted by researchers from UCLA, is one of the largest ever done on partial breast irradiation. It was published in the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology.

The study lasted two decades and was led by Dr. Mitchell Kamrava, an assistant professor of radiation oncology at UCLA and member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Kamrava and discovered that the length of the treatment can be reduced to a week because the smaller area of treatment allows for a higher dosage per treatment.

And because partial breast irradiation is more targeted, there is less exposure to vital organs like the lungs and the heart.

The new treatment, formally known as accelerated partial breast irradiation with interstitial multicatheter brachytherapy, works by radiating only breast tissue in and around the area where the tumor was removed. The current standard of care, called whole breast conservation therapy, involves irradiating the entire breast after surgery, usually over the course of five to seven weeks. This results in prolonged exposure to radiation and can potentially lead to more side effects.

“This gives us confidence there is a group of women who are suitable candidates for partial breast radiation and more women should discuss this treatment option with their doctors,” said Kamrava.

The study followed over 1000 women who received partial breast irradiation after surgery, with an average follow-up of about seven years.

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