Breast Cancer Radiation Treatment Time Reduced from Seven Weeks to One

A recent study presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting, claims that accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) using a newer type of irradiation therapy called balloon brachytherapy reduces radiation therapy from six or seven weeks to one, and is as effective in keeping breast cancer from coming back as the standard external beam radiation treatment.

“Not only does it make radiation treatment much more convenient, it may actually increase the rate of breast conservation, since some women choose mastectomy because they live too far from a radiation center and cannot afford the time and expense of six to seven weeks of living or traveling to the center,” Peter Beitsch, M.D., lead author of the study and a surgical oncologist at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, said. “Also, there are many women who for a host of reasons don’t receive the necessary postoperative radiation and the shortened course should hopefully allow more women to receive the therapy that they need.”

Many women have a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy, which enables them to keep their breast after treatment, a process that can last some six or seven weeks. Brachytherapy treats only the area surrounding the tumor, instead of the whole breast. After removal of the tumor, a small balloon is inserted into the cavity. The balloon is attached to a catheter which delivers high doses of radiation via tiny radioactive seeds into the lumpectomy cavity.

The American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS) MammoSite RTS Registry Trial evaluated data from more than 1,400 women with early stage breast cancer who were treated with balloon brachytherapy using the MammoSite Radiation Therapy System, one type of breast brachytherapy. In this study, 400 women were followed for nearly four years and results show that women with early-stage breast cancer who are treated with APBI using this type of balloon brachytherapy had the same chance of the cancer returning as those who had the standard radiation treatment.

The study was presented September 22, 2008, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting in Boston, MA.

Source: American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO), September, 2008

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *