Breast MR helps refine partial-breast irradiation

Breast MRI scans may be able to help physicians determine which patients are most suited for partial-breast irradiation treatment, according to a presentation at this week's American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in Denver.

Partial-breast irradiation is being studied as an alternative to whole-breast radiation therapy for women with early-stage breast cancer who have had their tumors surgically removed. Partial-breast irradiation can reduce the radiation course to just one day from five days previously.

Researchers from the Stanford University in Stanford, CA, used breast MRI to examine women already diagnosed with breast cancer and who were candidates for partial-breast irradiation. Their goal was to determine as accurately as possible the extent of tumor, as well as find any unsuspected disease elsewhere in the breast, which might make the women less suitable for the procedure.

They found that among the 51 women in their study cohort, 10% had additional disease that wasn't found on mammogram. These patients should probably receive wider removal of breast tissue followed by whole-breast radiation therapy, rather than partial-breast radiation therapy, according to the researchers. Women with biopsy-proven multicentric disease should probably receive mastectomy.

By staff writers
October 19, 2005

Related Reading

Breast tumor surgical margin, histology should guide MammoSite use, September 13, 2005

Good short-term outcomes achieved with accelerated partial breast irradiation, September 2, 2005

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