MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Quyen Chu, MD, MBA, FACS
Charles Knight Professor in Surgery
Professor of Surgery
Chief, Surgical Oncology
Director, Surface Malignancies Program
Feist-Weiller Cancer Center
Louisiana State University
Health Sciences Center, Shreveport
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Chu: In 2004, national treatment recommendations changed for a select group of elderly breast cancer patients with the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 9343 trial. Research found that postoperative radiation therapy was not needed to prolong survival in a select group of women 70 or older, mainly those with a small, estrogen receptor (ER) positive tumor, and receiving anti-hormone therapy. Even with this information, nearly two thirds of the women who fit these criteria were still receiving radiation therapy after undergoing a lumpectomy although it has been proven to be safe to omit.
We found that as a nation, we are mostly not following the national guideline on breast cancer treatment and that the possible side effects of RT can be avoided.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Chu: Clinicians and patients should take away from this report that in U.S. women 70 or older with stage I, ER+ breast cancer and receiving anti-hormone therapy, radiation therapy is overly utilized as it is not needed to prolong survival.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Chu: Because CALGB 9343 trial results have been confirmed in the 10-year update and from the results of this study and many others, I would recommend that clinicians and researchers thoroughly analyze their experience with omitting radiation therapy in this population of patients.
Medical Research: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Chu: I hope this study provides the nation with a better awareness of breast cancer treatment options for this population of elderly patients and that clinicians will weigh the risks and benefits of RT before recommending it.
Quyen D. Chu, Kaelen Medeiros, Meijiao Zhou, Prakash Peddi, Xiao-Cheng Wu. Impact of Cooperative Trial and Sociodemographic Variation on Adjuvant Radiation Therapy Usage in Elderly Women (≥70 years) with Stage I, Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: Analysis of the National Cancer Data Base. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2015.12.018
Quyen Chu, MD, MBA, FACS (2016). Radiation Overutilized in Elderly Stage1 ER+ Breast Cancer Patients