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26/01/2022 - General information

Partial intraoperative radiotherapy in breast cancer, more highly rated by patients

The technique achieves good results in terms of toxicity, the preservation of the physical appearance and patient ratings when used for partial breast irradiation compared to its use in combination with large doses of fractionated whole-breast irradiation.

Patients with early-stage breast cancer more positively evaluate treatment with partial intraoperative radiotherapy of the breast than the approach that uses the same technique in combination with whole-breast irradiation divided into large doses. This is highlighted in a study published in the journal Clinical and Translational Oncology, led by the Radiation Oncology Service and the Functional Breast Pathology Unit at Hospital del Mar as well as researchers in the Radiation Oncology Research Group at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute. Intraoperative radiotherapy consists of directly irradiating the area affected by the tumour in the operating theatre during the operation to remove the mass.

The study analysed the results of treating 80 patients with these two approaches. Thirty-one received only partial intraoperative radiotherapy on the breast while the remainder received a combination of this technique with whole-breast irradiation divided into large doses. Only the women included in the latter group suffered side effects due to the toxicity of the treatment, although none were serious. In terms of the preservation of their physical appearance, the majority of the patients rated both approaches favourably.

On the other hand, there were significant differences in their scores for psychosocial well-being and radiation-induced toxicity, with better marks going to intraoperative radiotherapy with partial irradiation. This leads the authors of the study to suggest that this approach is better tolerated and more highly rated, with less toxicity issues, as well as having better results related to the maintenance of physical appearance.

This type of approach, which has been used at the Hospital del Mar since 2018, allows patients to be treated directly in the operating theatre, avoiding subsequent treatments and hospital visits. It also limits the risk of irradiating other organs near the affected area.

Reference article

Li, X., Sanz, J., Argudo, N. et al. Intraoperative irradiation in breast cancer: preliminary results in 80 patients as partial breast irradiation or anticipated boost prior to hypo-fractionated whole breast irradiationClin Transl Oncol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12094-021-02728-0

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