Whittington surgeon co-leads study that could transform breast cancer treatment

Targeted radiotherapy during surgery could speed up breast cancer treatment, according to a large international study co-led by a Whittington Health surgeon.

The study published in the medical journal The Lancet shows that one 20 - 30 minute treatment during surgery could offer an alternative to weeks of radiotherapy sessions breast cancer patients need to have afterwards.

Targeted intraoperative radiotherapy (TARGIT) can be used to destroy any remaining tumour cells at the cancer site straight after surgery to remove cancerous lumps.

The research across 33 centres over five years was led by Whittington Health breast surgeon Professor Jayant Vaidya, Professor Michael Baum of University College London and oncologist, Professor Jeffrey Tobias of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Whittington Health’s Jayant Vaidya, said: “The biggest benefit of TARGIT for breast cancer patients is that vital treatment is completed in a one-step process. It has the potential to save women a lot of time and energy by taking out the need for lengthy follow up radiotherapy sessions. All treatment is over and done with in a single sitting.”

The research shows that, while the effectiveness of conventional methods of treating breast cancer is as good as TARGIT, the one-step procedure can remove the need for weeks of follow-up radiotherapy treatment, which can mean 20 to 30 visits to hospital over five to six weeks.

Women are also less likely to suffer unpleasant side-effects associated with radiotherapy.
The Lancet podcast gives the summary findings. The full paper is available to read here.
Last updated24 Nov 2013