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Home News and Update Year 2010 Now, Single Dose Radiation to Treat Breast Cancer?

Now, Single Dose Radiation to Treat Breast Cancer?

Times of India
10 June 2010
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India

Radiotherapy for breast cancer patients could soon be a single dose 30–minute affair, instead of the tedious present–day regimen that lasts over six weeks. In a major breakthrough, a team of British doctors headed by University College London’s Dr Jayant S Vaidya–an Indian from Goa–has created and tested a new technique that blasts the remnants of a tumour inside the breast in just one shot lasting half–an–hour. The team used radiation on areas just around the tumour rather that on the whole breast, as is done currently.

A 10–year trial of this Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy, conducted in nine countries involving over 2,200 women, confirmed that radiation that targeted a specific area of the breast was as effective as whole–breast radiation in reducing breast cancer recurrence in women. The results of the trial were published in The Lancet.

So, while a patient is still under anaesthesia following the removal of the tumour, a series of gentle X–rays are administered to destroy any remaining tumour cells at the cancer site. The technique is highly convenient and costs less. Dr Vaidya told TOI from the UK that several hospitals in India like Breach Candy in Mumbai had expressed interest in his work.

Shot In Arm
  • New treatment has a comparable recurrence rate of around 1% with presently used external beam radiation
  • Radiotherapy toxicity is four times lower
  • Treatment avoids irradiation of the heart, lung and oesophagus
‘Smaller radiation dose in 1–time shot’
New Delhi: Dr Jayant Vaidya, who led the team of University College London, doctors that has created a single–shot radiotherapy to treat breast cancer, told TOI, “The trial can change two fundamental principles in breast cancer treatment: whole breast radiotherapy can be replaced by a targeted one–time shot and a much smaller dose of radiation may be adequate,” he said. “Breast cancer usually recurs around the area where the tumour was detected the first time. So, it’s logical to give concentrated dose of radiation to the tissues at highest risk than the whole breast.” Dr Vaidya said since 2000, the team was delivering TIR with a machine called intrabeam giving radiation from inside the breast to the cancer site.

But the therapy can be done a tumour not bigger that 3 cm. “Our trials tried this technique on women above 45. We don’t know how effective it will be in younger women,” he said. Dr Vaidya launched the TARGIT trial on March 24, 2000. Prof Michael Baum, professor emeritus of surgery at University College London, who carried out the first procedure using intraoperative radiotherapy in 1998 said, “Many women, specially in developing world will be spared six weeks of treatment.”

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