Breast cancer recurrence reduced by half following radiotherapy

RADIOTHERAPY halves recurrence of breast cancer after breast-conserving surgery and also reduces the risk of mortality over the subsequent 15 years, a meta-analysis shows.

UK researchers examined data from 10,800 women enrolled in 17 randomised trials comparing radiotherapy with no radiotherapy following lumpectomy, sector resection or quadrantectomy.

They found that 12.6% of women receiving radiotherapy developed another breast cancer in the five years after initial surgery compared to 25.6% of women receiving surgery only, with the relative figures at 10 years being 19.3% compared to 35%.

Overall, the annual breast cancer death rate was reduced by one-sixth in the radiotherapy group.