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Landmark TROG trial shows benefit of lymph node radiation

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Last week results of the international study MA.20 showing the benefit of lymph node radiation in long-term breast cancer control were released and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This trial, run by the Trans-Tasman Oncology Group (TROG), provides evidence that radiation of the lymph nodes additionally to the breast after surgery significantly prolongs the time women remain cancer-free.

The study involved 1832 women affected by early-stage invasive breast cancer (breast cancer that has started growing into normal tissue). Some of the women participating in the study received radiation to the breast and to the lymph nodes after surgery, whereas others received radiation to the breast only (after surgery). All patients were monitored for a period of ten years. The follow-up results showed that 82% of the patients who received radiation to the breast and to the lymph nodes were cancer-free after ten years, compared to 77% of the patients who received radiation to the breast only.

These findings are important for all women affected by invasive breast cancer and who have to decide about their treatment options. Indeed, as pointed out by Dr Boon Chua, Professor at Peter McCallum Cancer Center (Australia) and international Co-Chair of the MA.20 trial, lymph node radiation may cause various side-effects, which need to be discussed and balanced with the benefits of such a treatment.

TROG is a global leader in radiotherapy research for different types of cancers. This network of over 1,000 radiation oncologists and other professionals based in Australia and New Zealand conducts internationally renowned research. 

As member of the BIG network, TROG also plays a key role. Among the various academic trials initiated by the group is the DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ) study, also known as the Finely Tuned Radiotherapy study. 

Coordinated by TROG under the BIG umbrella, this study aims to improve the safety and the quality of DCIS treatments and to tailor treatment intensity according to each patient’s individual risk of developing invasive disease. The goal of the study is to minimize the risk of invasive disease in high-risk patients, and spare unnecessary treatment side-effects in low-risk patients.

 

>> TROG’s News dated 24 July – MA.20 study results
>> Learn more about the DCIS study
>> Interview with Dr Boon Chua, Principal Investigator of the DCIS study