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ASTRO 2017: Shorter Course of Radiation Therapy for Younger Women With Breast Cancer

By: Susan Reckling
Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hypofractionated whole-breast irradiation appears to be a safe and effective therapeutic option for women with breast cancer younger than the age of 50, according to a recent analysis of four prospective single-institution trials presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Diego (Abstract 13). In fact, it seems to be no more damaging to the breast tissue or skin of younger women than it is in older women.

“Based on this new evidence, it is important that the guidelines for hypofractionated radiation after lumpectomy change to include younger women,” announced lead author of the study Naamit Gerber, MD, of Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health in New York in a press release.

The conventional treatment approach irradiates patients every day for 6 or 7 weeks. This newer shorter course of radiation therapy delivers higher doses of radiation over 3 to 4 weeks.

Of the 1303 patients enrolled in the 4 trials, 348 were younger than 50 years old. Most of the patients (76%) had invasive cancer. Overall survival was 98.8% at 5 years; disease-free survival was 94.5%; and local recurrence–free survival was 96.8%. In addition, at a follow-up of approximately 3 years, 86% of patients and 92% of clinicians rated global cosmesis as excellent or good.