News | December 31, 2014

Most Elderly Women With Early Stage Breast Cancer Receive a Treatment That May Not be as Effective

Radiation therapy plus tamoxifen does not reduce 5-year recurrence rates

Radiation therapy, clinical trial/study, women's health

Image courtesy of Hologic

December 31, 2014 — A new analysis has found that while clinical trial data support omitting radiation treatments in elderly women with early stage breast cancer, nearly two-thirds of these women continue to receive it. The findings are published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Results published in 2004 from a large, randomized clinical trial showed that adding radiation therapy to surgery plus tamoxifen does not reduce 5-year recurrence rates or prolong survival in elderly women with early stage tumors. Despite the findings, many doctors still administer radiation to these patients.

To examine the extent to which elderly women still receive radiation to treat early stage breast cancer, Rachel Blitzblau, M.D., Ph.D., of Duke University, and her colleagues analyzed information from the nation's largest cancer registry, the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End-Results (SEER) database. The investigators identified 40,583 women older than 70 years of age who were treated with lumpectomy from 2000 to 2009. From 2000 to 2004, before the trial results were published, 68.6% of patients received some form of radiation therapy. From 2005 to 2009, 61.7% of patients received such treatment, although there was a shift in the type of radiation therapy used: fewer patients received standard whole breast radiation, and more received a short course of focused radiation treatment. The results indicate that publication of the trial results had only a very small impact on practice patterns.

"Our findings highlight the fact that it may be challenging for practitioners to incorporate clinical trial data that involves omitting a treatment that was previously considered standard of care," said Blitzblau. She noted that there could be many reasons for this, including concern about the relatively short duration of follow-up of five years. "If a treatment regimen has been working well, and data are new, there can be concern that de-escalation of treatment may ultimately be shown to worsen outcomes." However, the medical community as a whole is aware that there is a need for more financially efficient medical care that omits unnecessary treatments.

Longer-term results of the trial that were published last year showed that recurrence rates continued to be low in women who forewent radiation. Blitzbau noted that it will be interesting to see if these findings will have a larger impact on practice patterns.

For more information: www.cancer.org/healthy/informationforhealthcareprofessionals/otherlinks/...

 

Related Content

Clinical Trial Testing Topical Gel to Reduce Breast Density
News | Breast Density | June 19, 2018
Women with dense breast tissue soon might be adding a new product to their skincare routine to help them fight breast...
New Prostate Cancer Radiotherapy Technique Aims to Preserve Sexual Function
News | Radiation Therapy | June 18, 2018
A multicenter clinical trial being led by UT Southwestern physicians is testing a technique for sparing nerve bundles...
Report Finds Identifying Patients for Lung Cancer Screening Not So Simple
News | Lung Cancer | June 18, 2018
New findings in the current issue of The American Journal of Managed Care suggest that getting the right patients to...
Elekta Unity High-Field MR-Linac Receives CE Mark
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | June 18, 2018
Elekta announced that its Elekta Unity magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system has received CE mark,...
California Women In Favor of Extending State's Breast Density Inform Law
News | Breast Density | June 15, 2018
A recent survey of California women found that 95 percent of respondents want the state’s breast density inform law to...
Washington University in St. Louis Begins Clinical Treatments With ViewRay MRIdian Linac
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | June 14, 2018
June 14, 2018 — The Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in S
PET/CT Changes Care for 59 Percent of Suspected Recurrent Prostate Cancer Cases
News | Prostate Cancer | June 13, 2018
A recently presented investigational clinical trial evaluated the impact of 18F fluciclovine positron emission...
Accuray TomoTherapy System Beneficial in Two Total Body Irradiation Studies
News | Radiation Therapy | June 13, 2018
Recently published data from two new studies demonstrate the benefits of Accuray’s TomoTherapy System in the delivery...
Women More Likely to Use Other Preventive Health Services Following Mammography
News | Mammography | June 13, 2018
Medicare beneficiaries who undergo breast cancer screening with mammography are more likely than unscreened women to...
Reduced hippocampal volume on MRI

This figure shows reduced hippocampal volume over the course of 6 years as seen on progressive volumetric analysis and also coronal MRI evaluations (arrows).Progressive volume loss in the mesial temporal lobe on MRI is a characteristic imaging feature of AD. This patient was a case of Alzheimer’s Dementia.

 

News | Neuro Imaging | June 12, 2018
According to a UCLA Medical Center study, a new technology shows the potential to help doctors better determine when...
Overlay Init