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News: Is less radiation after lumpectomy feasible?

Less radiation after lumpectomy for women with early breast cancer is feasible.

It would seem so in women with early breast cancer, according to the results of two large trials, but United States and European researchers are still skeptical about the long-term adverse effects.

Findings from the first trial, the Standardization of Breast Radiotherapy Trial, which followed 2,000 lumpectomy patients for 5 years, suggest that the total amount of radiation can be safely reduced by about 10 Gy (from the usual 50 Gy) and delivered in fewer sessions
(13 instead of 25) over a 5-week period, an approach known as hypofractionation, with no greater rates of local recurrence or adverse effects.

The second trial performed in Canada, which followed 1,000 women for 10 years and which compared a 3-week schedule of 42.5 Gy in 16 fractions against standard treatment, also found no statistically significant difference between the groups in terms of local recurrence or adverse effects.

McNeil C. Less radiation after lumpectomy in breast cancer: new results stir debate. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008;100:910-911.