Many breast cancer patients may be able to avoid lengthy radiation treatment according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer. As an alternative to standard external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) performed after a lumpectomy, TARGIT-IORT is a single-dose intraoperative radiation treatment targeting the tumor site immediately following the lumpectomy. The treatment occurs while the patient is still asleep under general anesthesia. This protocol means patients can have their breast cancer surgery and radiation treatment all at the same time.
By targeting the radiation just to the tumor site at the time of the surgery, patients may be able to avoid potentially harmful effects traditional radiation treatments can have on nearby organs. According to the study, delivering TARGIT-OIRT during the lumpectomy also makes the site of the original tumor less conducive for future cancer growth. Other studies show the benefits of this type of radiation treatment including less pain, better cosmetic results after surgery, and fewer changes to the breast shape and skin compared with whole breast EBRT.
For the study, 2,298 women with invasive breast cancer and a tumor size of up to 3.5 cm in diameter were randomly assigned to receive either TARGIT-IORT during lumpectomy or post-operative extended radiation. The trial was run in 32 hospitals across 10 countries.
The study showed no difference in local recurrence-free survival between the two methods of radiation treatment. Unlike with EBRT, local recurrence with TARGIT-OIRT was not associated with a higher risk of death.
The study found “no statistically significant difference between EBRT and the approach of risk-adapted TARGIT-IORT during lumpectomy, for local recurrence-free survival, invasive local recurrence-free survival, mastectomy-free survival, distant disease-free survival or breast cancer mortality. The mortality from other causes was significantly lower in the TARGIT-IORT arm”.
Based on these study results, single-dose TARGIT-IORT during lumpectomy is an effective and safe alternative to several weeks’ course of post-operative EBRT. Patients who are candidates for single-does radiation can therefore benefit from less time spent in treatment and a faster recovery without comprising their cancer care.
Please remember, it is important to discuss all treatment options thoroughly with your healthcare team before undergoing surgery.
Confused about your breast cancer treatment options? Get the help you need with evidence-based information in the palm of your hand – download Breast Advocate® FREE here.