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US cancer institutions report on the use of combined radiation and hyperthermia therapy

BSD Medical : 18 March, 2008  (Company News)
BSD Medical has welcomed a multi-institutional review which has reported on the positive use of combined radiation and hyperthermia therapy for treating recurrent breast cancer.
The review was presented in the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO).

The review was conducted by participants from Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York; Lutheran General Cancer Center, Park Ridge, Illinois; University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Alexian Brothers Hospital, Elk Grove Village, Illinois; and Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The review examines the feasibility of treating recurrent breast and chest wall cancers with radiation. As more than half of the patients from the pooled data received hyperthermia therapy in addition to radiation, this led to an additional comparison of results from radiation treatments with and without hyperthermia therapy.

Recurrent breast cancer is a difficult condition without a clear role for treatment with radiation therapy. The review observes that breast cancer recurrence ‘has classically been considered to confer a poor prognosis’. The review noted that for patients ‘who have undergone previous beast or chest wall radiation therapy, the role of repeat radiation therapy is not clear’.

In conducting this review, 81 recurrent breast cancer patients treated by radiation were identified by the institutions, 44 of who received hyperthermia therapy in addition to radiation. The median follow-up on patients treated was 12 months.

Based on ‘encouraging local response rates’, that is an overall complete response rate (tumour disappearance) of 57 percent for all patients treated with radiation, along with ‘acceptable acute and late morbidity’, the review concluded that ‘repeat radiation therapy of the chest wall for patients with locally recurrent breast cancer is feasible’. However, there was a substantial difference in the complete response rate between the patients who received radiation plus hyperthermia as compared to those who received radiation alone. The review indicated ‘Patients who received hyperthermia had a complete response rate of 67 percent compared with 39 percent for patients who did not receive hyperthermia’.

The review is entitled ‘Multi-Institutional Review of Repeat Radiation of Chest Wall and Breast for Recurrent Breast Cancer’ (see Int J Radiation Oncology Biol. Phys, Vol. 70, No 2, pp. 477-484, 2008).
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