According to recent studies, radiation does not increase the survival rates of older individuals with early breast cancer.
In older patients with early breast cancer, radiotherapy does not seem to improve survival rates. The New England Journal of Medicine has published the findings. The present standard of care, which consists of hormone therapy, breast-conserving surgery, and radiotherapy, did not change the death rates for patients 65 years of age or older, according to researchers.
Also, it was discovered that radiotherapy had no impact on the chance of metastasis, or secondary tumours. The probability of cancer returning did, however, slightly decrease, but it is still within the clinically acceptable range. One of the first long-term clinical trials for older breast cancer patients, the 10-year study showed radiotherapy can be safely avoided when treating those over 65 with early-stage breast cancer.
No Radiotherapy On Breast Cancer Patients
No matter the patient’s age, early breast cancer is typically treated with breast-conserving surgery, sometimes known as a lumpectomy, radiation, and hormone therapy to lower the risk of a breast recurrence. At least 50% of individuals with the illness are 65 years of age or older. There haven’t been many clinical trials with elderly patients, even though radiotherapy increases their burden by causing side effects like cardiac issues and secondary tumours.
With 1,326 patients, researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh carried out the PRIME II randomized-clinical trial to determine whether radiation is required in addition to a lumpectomy and hormone therapy. The patients had “low risk” breast cancer, which is defined as a tumour that is less than 3 cm in size, does not include the lymph nodes beneath the armpit, and is likely to respond to hormone therapy. The patients were 65 years of age or older.
A breast-conserving procedure and at least five years of hormone therapy were recommended for each participant. Following surgery, radiation was given to the randomly chosen half of the group for an additional three to five weeks. Participants were evaluated during yearly clinic visits and by breast imaging.
The research team discovered that although receiving radiotherapy lowered the risk to 0.9%, those treated without radiotherapy had a 9.5% chance of developing cancer again in the treated breast after 10 years. Despite this variation in recurrence rates, both fall within the permitted range per current therapeutic recommendations.
In the two groups, there was no difference in overall survival, and the majority of fatalities were brought on by diseases other than breast cancer. The Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office and Western General Hospital in Edinburgh’s Breast Cancer Institute NHS Endowment Fund provided funding for the project.
The University of Edinburgh’s Professor of Clinical Oncology, Professor Ian Kunkler, stated that radiotherapy can be quite taxing on patients, especially the elderly. The research will assist clinicians in advising older patients on whether a specific early breast cancer therapy component can be skipped as part of a collaborative decision-making process that accounts for all the risks and benefits.
Who provided funds for the project of radiotherapy?
The Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office and Western General Hospital in Edinburgh’s Breast Cancer Institute NHS Endowment Fund provided funding for the project.
What is the chance of developing breast cancer again in the treated patients?
The research team discovered that although receiving radiotherapy lowered the risk to 0.9%, those treated without radiotherapy had a 9.5% chance of developing cancer again in the treated breast after 10 years.