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BREAST CANCER: Intraoperative radiotherapy at the time of lumpectomy is as effective as whole breast irradiation and associated with fewer non-cancer deaths

BREAST CANCER: Intraoperative radiotherapy at the time of lumpectomy is as effective as whole breast irradiation and associated with fewer non-cancer deaths

LONDON— Intraoperative radiotherapy given at the time of lumpectomy was found to be ‘non-inferior’ to the use of conventional post-operative whole breast external beam radiotherapy and had equivalent breast cancer specific mortality but fewer non-cancer deaths. This is according to findings from the TARGIT-A study by researchers in the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia with five-year follow up data published in the Lancet. The authors give reassurance that with a ‘risk adapted’ strategy — in which patients receiving intra-operative therapy were given supplementary external beam radiation if the operation revealed they were at high risk — is a safe and effective alternative to the conventional approach and could not only benefit patients but also reduce costs. Investigators Professor Jayant S Vaidya PhD and Professor Michael Baum MB ChB FRCS describe their findings and discuss the clinical implications.

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