National Trial Studies Shorter Radiation Treatment For Breast Cancer

Research could enhance patient convenience while saving time and money

Sep 26, 2011, 11:16 ET from Beaumont Health System

ROYAL OAK, Mich., Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Beaumont Health System has launched national research of accelerated whole breast radiation treatment for women with early-stage breast cancer. The study, RTOG 1005, was developed by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, a cancer therapy research cooperative group funded by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Frank Vicini, M.D., Beaumont's chief of Oncology Services and the study's national principal investigator, says this approach could ultimately shorten treatment time for the majority of women with breast cancer.

Beaumont has enrolled the nation's first patient in the study – a 51-year-old school teacher from Royal Oak, MI.

Past research has shown that giving radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) helps keep cancer from coming back in the breast. Radiation therapy is given to the whole breast on a Monday through Friday basis for five weeks. It can be followed by what's known as a "boost"  - a higher dose of radiation to the site of the cancer – adding another 1 to 1-1/2 weeks of treatment time.

This new research study will compare radiation therapy given with a higher daily dose over three weeks plus a "boost" given each day with standard whole breast radiation followed by a "boost" given on separate days extending over 6 to 6-1/2 weeks.

"We don't expect to see a difference in survival by changing the number of daily treatments and shortening the length of time for treatment," says Dr. Vicini. "But shortening the length of treatment will greatly enhance convenience and quality of life for patients, while saving time and money."

A total of 2,312 patients across the U.S. will take part in the study. Beaumont expects to enroll 100 patients.

For enrollment information, call Beaumont's Cancer Clinical Trials Office at 248-551-7695.

Beaumont's comprehensive cancer program combines the expertise of surgical, medical and radiation oncologists to offer cancer prevention counseling, diagnosis and treatment in hospital and community-based settings. The Beaumont Cancer Institute is one of only 47 Community Clinical Oncology Programs in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute to provide patients with access to leading-edge cancer clinical research trials. Beaumont is designated as a Blue Cross Center of Distinction for the Treatment of Rare and Complex Cancers.

SOURCE Beaumont Health System