UMGCC is participating in a 3,000-patient National Cancer Institute (NCI) breast cancer study comparing the benefits of partial breast radiation to whole breast radiation to treat early stage breast cancer.
Studies have shown that giving radiation therapy to the breast after a lumpectomy helps keep cancer from recurring. Partial breast irradiation (PBI) delivers radiation directly to the site where the tumor was removed, targeting the area where the cancer would most likely recur and sparing healthy tissue. PBI is given two times a day for five days. Whole breast irradiation (WBI), which has been the standard therapy after lumpectomy, usually requires six to seven weeks of daily treatments.
For more information on the Breast Cancer Research Study or MammoSite® therapy, visit Clinical Trials for Breast Cancer or contact the UMGCC Department of Radiation Oncology at 1-800-888-8823.
“This study is important in helping us to determine whether partial breast irradiation is as good as, or better than, whole breast irradiation over the long term,” says Chad DeYoung M.D., assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study at UMGCC. “Initial results on PBI are very promising, and this trial will help us establish which patients can best benefit for these new therapies,” he added.
Patients in the study will be randomly chosen to receive either whole breast external radiation or partial breast radiation, using one of several methods.
One of the innovative methods of PBI being offered is the MammoSite® Balloon method. MammoSite® is the newest procedure for delivering partial breast radiation for early stage breast cancer. The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC) was the area’s first cancer center to begin offering partial breast radiation using this new technology in 2003.
With MammoSite®, doctors place a balloon catheter into the cavity of the breast where the tumor had been surgically removed. Radiation oncologists then deliver internal radiation into the balloon twice a day for five days. When therapy is completed, the balloon is deflated and the catheter easily removed.
“MammoSite® is an innovative therapy that is minimally invasive, has been shown to be safe and can be performed as an outpatient procedure,” says William F. Regine, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “It can significantly reduce the number of daily radiation treatments and their impact on healthy areas of the body.”