BOSTON, Mass. Oct. 29, 2012. Elderly women with early-stage breast cancer live longer with radiation therapy and surgery compared with surgery alone, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found. The researchers, who collected data on almost 30,000 women, ages 70 to 84, with early, highly treatable breast cancer enrolled in a nationwide cancer registry, are reporting their findings at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
"Overall survival and breast cancer-specific survival were significantly better at all time points for elderly women with Stage I, estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer with no lymph node involvement who received radiation therapy following surgery to remove the tumor," says lead author Randi J. Cohen, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a physician in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.
For women who had radiation and a lumpectomy, the overall survival rate was 88.6 percent at five years, 65 percent at 10 years and 39.6 percent at 15 years. That compares with a survival rate of 73.1 percent at five years, 41.7 percent at 10 years and 20 percent at 15 years for women who only had surgery. The median survival was 13 years for patients receiving surgery and radiation, compared with 9.9 years for patients receiving surgery alone. The researchers don't know how many of the women also received hormonal therapy.
"Our findings suggest that adjuvant radiation therapy should be strongly considered as part of the treatment regimen for otherwise healthy elderly women with early ER-positive breast cancer," Dr. Cohen says. "A woman's age alone should not dictate whether or not radiation is recommended."
The senior author, Steven J. Feigenberg, M.D., an associate professor of radiation oncology at
|Contact: Karen Warmkessel|
University of Maryland Medical Center