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Posted by on Dec 28, 2020 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study was carried out to assess the use of radiotherapy (RT) after mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast) for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) that has spread to the lymph nodes. The authors found that RT after surgery was associated with improved survival in patients with larger tumors.

Some background

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a type of breast cancer that does not grow in response to female hormones estrogen or progesterone or the protein HER2. TNBC accounts for 10-15% of all breast cancers (BC). TNBC is known to be difficult to treat and usually has a poorer prognosis when compared to other forms of BC. 

Mastectomy is the standard treatment for BC. This involves complete or partial removal of breast tissue to prevent the growth and spread of cancer. BC can spread to the lymph nodes easily and this can affect patients' survival. RT after surgery can kill any cells left behind in the lymph nodes. However, the effectiveness of RT after mastectomy in patients with node-positive TNBC has not been previously clarified.

Methods & findings

There were a total of 4398 patients with node-positive TNBC included in this study. All patients were treated with mastectomy. 60.2% had received RT after surgery and 39.8% did not. The average follow-up was 41.4 months.

After 3 years, the group who received RT after surgery had a 28% lower risk of mortality related to BC compared to those who did not receive RT. Patients with larger tumors or tumors that had spread to 2 or more lymph nodes had a better survival rate with RT than without RT. 

The bottom line

The authors concluded that in patients with larger tumor or BC that has spread to more than one node, RT after surgery improved their outcomes compared to patients who did not receive RT. 

The fine print

This study was based on data from medical records. Some of the information about patients' treatment plans and complications experienced was not included in this study. 

Published By :

BMC cancer

Date :

Nov 25, 2020

Original Title :

The effect of postmastectomy radiotherapy in node-positive triple-negative breast cancer.

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