Researchers from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Highlight Breast Cancer Treatment Advances

Study Results on Shortened Radiation Course Presented at International Conference in San Antonio
December 12, 2009

New Brunswick, N.J.– New research being presented this week at the 32nd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium by an investigator at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) highlights the benefit of a shortened radiation course to patients with the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer.  Sharad Goyal, MD, instructor of radiation oncology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is the lead researcher on a poster discussion, which focuses on patients with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), who have had a lumpectomy.  CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  

In DCIS, the cancer cells are inside the milk ducts of the breast but have not spread to surrounding breast tissue. A previous study (Intergroup Study E5194) by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and the North Central Cancer Treatment Group withheld radiation therapy from a low-risk subset of patients with DCIS after removal of the cancer. At five years, the local recurrence rate for low- and intermediate-grade patients was 6.8 percent, and 13.7 percent for high-grade patients.

The current study, conducted by Dr. Goyal; senior author Bruce G. Haffty, MD, chair of radiation oncology at CINJ and professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and colleagues looked at 69 patients between 2002 and 2004, who met the enrollment criteria for the previous study. 

Following lumpectomy, patients in the new study were offered accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI), which is a one-week course of treatment that targets the specific area of the breast cavity where the cancer was removed.  Investigators found that compared to the previous study, where radiation therapy was withheld, APBI greatly reduced the rate of local recurrence for low-risk DCIS patients (zero percent compared to 6.8 percent for low- to intermediate-grade patients and 5.3 percent compared to 13.7 percent for high-grade patients).  Considering the shortened course of radiation (one week of APBI versus the traditional seven or eight), Goyal notes such treatment not only lessens the chance of recurrence, but also could have great benefit to a patient’s quality of life in not having to travel continuously to the treatment site.

Colleagues on the study include Frank Vicini, William Beaumont Hospital, MI; Peter D. Beitsch, Dallas Breast Center, TX; Martin Keisch, Miami Brachytherapy Center, FL; and Maureen Lyden, MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX.

About The Cancer Institute of New Jersey

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and is dedicated to improving the prevention, detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer. CINJ’s physician-scientists engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a center of excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. To support CINJ, please call the Cancer Institute of New Jersey Foundation at 1-888-333-CINJ.

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides a mechanism to rapidly disseminate important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Hospital, and Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Affiliate Hospitals: Bayshore Community Hospital, CentraState Healthcare System, Cooper University Hospital*, JFK Medical Center, Mountainside Hospital, Raritan Bay Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton (CINJ at Hamilton), Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Somerset Medical Center, Southern Ocean County Hospital, The University Hospital/UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center at Princeton. *Academic Affiliate



Michele Fisher


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