Breast cancer treatment with fewer potential side effects has equally good patient outcomes, study shows

June 26, 2015 by Reggie Kumar, University of California, Los Angeles

A new study by UCLA scientists has found that women diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with a one-week regimen of partial breast radiation after the surgical removal of the tumor, or lumpectomy, saw no increase in cancer recurrence or difference in cosmetic outcomes compared to women who received radiation of the entire breast for a period of up to six weeks after surgery. The study is one of the largest ever done on partial breast irradiation.

The study lasted two decades and was led by Dr. Mitchell Kamrava, an assistant professor of at UCLA and member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Kamrava and his team found that with partial breast irradiation the total length of treatment can be reduced to a week because the smaller area of treatment allows for a higher dosage per treatment. Additionally, 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 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 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.

The next phase for Kamrava and his team will be to analyze the results of randomized trials comparing whole breast versus partial .

The complete study is available in the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Explore further: Hold your breath to protect your heart

More information: "Outcomes of Breast Cancer Patients Treated with Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation Via Multicatheter Interstitial Brachytherapy: The Pooled Registry of Multicatheter Interstitial Sites (PROMIS) Experience." … 0434-015-4563-7&doi=

Related Stories

Hold your breath to protect your heart

January 5, 2015
Women who have breast cancer on their left side present a particular challenge to radiation oncologists. Studies have shown that the risk of heart disease is higher in this group of women after radiation treatment because ...

Removing more breast tissue reduces by half the need for second cancer surgery

May 30, 2015
Removing more tissue during a partial mastectomy could spare thousands of breast cancer patients a second surgery, according to a Yale Cancer Center study. The findings were published online May 30 in the New England Journal ...

Highly targeted irradiation as good as whole breast radiotherapy in early stage cancer

May 11, 2012
Barcelona, Spain: Using a concentrated, highly targeted dose of radiation to the breast has equally good results as irradiating the whole area, with no adverse effects on survival and a much better cosmetic outcome, Hungarian ...

Family history of breast cancer doesn't mean a poor prognosis for women who develop the disease

May 20, 2015
A new large study finds that women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and have a family history of the disease face no worse of a prognosis after treatment than other women with breast cancer. The study, which was published ...

Accelerated radiation treatment effective for noninvasive breast cancer

June 29, 2012
Accelerated whole breast irradiation after lumpectomy is an effective treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a very common early stage and noninvasive form of breast cancer, meaning many more breast cancer patients ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover new anti-cancer protein

March 21, 2018
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from ...

Targeting telomeres to overcome therapy resistance in advanced melanoma

March 21, 2018
A study conducted at The Wistar Institute in collaboration with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has demonstrated the efficacy of targeting aberrantly active telomerase to treat therapy-resistant melanoma. ...

Cancer comes back all jacked up on stem cells

March 19, 2018
After a biopsy or surgery, doctors often get a molecular snapshot of a patient's tumor. This snapshot is important - knowing the genetics that cause a cancer can help match a patient with a genetically-targeted treatment. ...

Researchers create a drug to extend the lives of men with prostate cancer

March 16, 2018
Fifteen years ago, Michael Jung was already an eminent scientist when his wife asked him a question that would change his career, and extend the lives of many men with a particularly lethal form of prostate cancer.

Machine-learning algorithm used to identify specific types of brain tumors

March 15, 2018
An international team of researchers has used methylation fingerprinting data as input to a machine-learning algorithm to identify different types of brain tumors. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team ...

Higher doses of radiation don't improve survival in prostate cancer

March 15, 2018
A new study shows that higher doses of radiation do not improve survival for many patients with prostate cancer, compared with the standard radiation treatment. The analysis, which included 104 radiation therapy oncology ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.