Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Older breast cancer patients see more complications with brachytherapy

Date:
October 22, 2012
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
The breast cancer treatment brachytherapy -- heralded for its low complication rates -- actually results in more complications than whole-breast radiation one year after treatment, researchers report.

The breast cancer treatment brachytherapy -- heralded for its low complication rates -- actually results in more complications than whole-breast radiation one year after treatment, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The standard treatment for older women with early stage breast cancer includes breast-conserving surgery, typically followed by radiation therapy to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Rather than irradiating larger areas of the breast, as in whole breast irradiation, brachytherapy temporarily implants radiation sources in catheters within the surgical site. This technique delivers larger and fewer radiation doses directly to the breast tissue, which results in a shortened treatment time and, proponents of the therapy believe, decreased toxicity to surrounding healthy tissue.

"This treatment method seems ideal in theory, but we found it concerning that such an important clinical decision that affects so many women was being made on the basis of theory, rather than scientific evidence," said the study's lead author Dr. Cary P. Gross, associate professor of internal medicine at Yale School of Medicine. "Despite the absence of large randomized controlled trials comparing these two treatments, brachytherapy has become increasingly popular, in part because of a theoretically lower rate of complications."

To test the theory, Gross' team studied a national sample of approximately 30,000 women with Medicare coverage and found that 15.8% of women undergoing radiation therapy received brachytherapy in 2008-2009, up from less than 1% in 2000 and 10% in 2006. There was substantial variation in brachytherapy use across the country, ranging from less than 5% of patients in some areas to over 70% in others.

The team found that the use of brachytherapy was associated with a 16.9% higher rate of wound and skin complications in the year after treatment compared to whole breast irradiation. There was no significant difference in the rate of deep tissue or bone complications between the two treatments.

"This study highlights the importance of conducting comparative effectiveness research before a new treatment becomes widespread," said Gross, who is co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Yale. "Medicare is spending significantly more money to cover this treatment, which potentially exposes women to a higher risk of complications than the 'tried and true' whole breast irradiation."

Other Yale authors on the study include Carolyn Presley, Pamela Soulos, Jeph Herrin, James Yu, Kenneth Roberts, and Jessica Long. Gross is the director of the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at the Yale Cancer Center.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (RO1CA149045).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carolyn J. Presley, Pamela R. Soulos, Jeph Herrin, Kenneth B. Roberts, James B. Yu, Brigid Killelea, Beth-Ann Lesnikoski, Jessica B. Long, and Cary P. Gross. Patterns of Use and Short-Term Complications of Breast Brachytherapy in the National Medicare Population From 2008-2009. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2012; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2012.43.5297

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Older breast cancer patients see more complications with brachytherapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022162543.htm>.
Yale University. (2012, October 22). Older breast cancer patients see more complications with brachytherapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022162543.htm
Yale University. "Older breast cancer patients see more complications with brachytherapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022162543.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins