Radiation device allows for targeted breast radiation to control cancer

July 12, 2010

A new study of breast cancer patients at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center and the Arizona Oncology Services shows that after almost two years, the radiation given with the Strut-Adjusted Volume Implant (SAVI) controls the rate of cancer and may reduce the complications seen with alternate types of brachytherapy. This study also demonstrates the accuracy and flexibility of the device to maximize the dose to the target tissue and minimize the exposure of healthy surrounding tissue and organs.

"This is the first paper that documents the patients' status after almost two years," said Catheryn Yashar, MD, associate professor of radiation oncology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and chief of breast and gynecological radiation services at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. "After almost two years, the patients showed that the treatment was well-tolerated without experiencing significant side effects. To date, the control rate of cancer is also very promising."

SAVI, which consists of comfortable, flexible catheters through which radiation is given, provides customized and minimizes exposure to healthy tissue after a woman who has undergone a to remove a . Radiation specialists sometimes decide to give women internal radiation - a process called brachytherapy - with the goal of giving concentrated doses of radiation to areas of concern while avoiding healthy tissue.

These findings reported in the International Journal of , Biology and Physics showed the results of 102 patients treated at a median follow-up time of 21 months. The researchers found that the SAVI appears to safely allow an increase in eligibility for patients to receive Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) over balloon brachytherapy or three-dimensional conformal radiation.

"This treatment allows us to provide internal radiation to the area without damaging the healthy tissue around the site, and minimizes radiation to a duration of only five days," explained Yashar. "The traditional whole breast treatment usually takes approximately six weeks."

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