Radiation after lumpectomy might benefit older women after all

Share this article:

Most older women with early breast cancer are more likely to avoid eventual mastectomy if they undergo radiation therapy after lumpectomy, according to a recent evaluation of 10-year outcomes that contradicts clinical recommendations.

Previous research has indicated that radiation therapy does not lower the risk of mastectomy and could therefore be omitted in older women with stage I, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer who undergo conservative surgery (lumpectomy), recounted investigators Benjamin D. Smith, MD, and colleagues in the current report, published by the journal Cancer. National treatment guidelines advise that older women with early-stage, ER-positive disease undergo lumpectomy followed by estrogen-blocking therapy alone, and not radiation therapy.

To explore whether the earlier findings applied to women outside of clinical trials, Smith, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and his fellow researchers used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare observational cohort to determine the effect of radiation therapy on the risk of mastectomy among older women with stage I, ER-positive breast cancer. They identified 7,403 such patients, aged 70 to 79 years, who underwent lumpectomy between 1992 and 2002. Approximately 88% of those women received radiation therapy after their surgery.

At a median follow-up of 7.3 years, the risk of subsequent mastectomy within 10 years of diagnosis was 3.2% for women who received radiation therapy and 6.3% for those who did not. In adjusted analyses, radiation therapy was associated with a lower risk of mastectomy (hazard ratio 0.33).

Radiation therapy was associated with an absolute reduction in risk of mastectomy that ranged from 4.3% to 9.8% at 10 years for all subgroups except that of patients aged 75 to 79 years without high-grade tumors and with a pathologic lymph node assessment.

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters


What is this?

Regimen and Drug Listings

GET FULL LISTINGS OF TREATMENT Regimens and Drug INFORMATION

Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs

More in Web Exclusives

New epigenetic test could eliminate unnecessary repeat biopsies for prostate cancer

Two independent trials have validated the performance of an epigenetic test that could provide physicians with a better tool to help eliminate unnecessary repeat prostate biopsies.

Piggy-backing cells hold clue to skin cancer growth

Piggy-backing cells hold clue to skin cancer growth

Skin cancer cells work together to spread further and faster, according to a new study. The discovery could lead to new drugs to tackle melanoma, the most deadly form of ...

Natural plant products protect skin during radiotherapy

Natural plant products protect skin during radiotherapy

Three ubiquitous and well-studied natural products derived from plants can protect the skin against gamma radiation during radiotherapy, according to new research.