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Br J Cancer. 2001 January; 84(2): 164–169.
PMCID: PMC2363696

Lumpectomy with or without postoperative radiotherapy for breast cancer with favourable prognostic features: results of a randomized study


The aim of this trial was to study the value of adding post-operative radiotherapy to lumpectomy in a subgroup of breast cancer patients with favourable patient-, tumour-, and treatment-related prognostic features. 152 women aged over 40 with unifocal breast cancer seen in preoperative mammography were randomly assigned to lumpectomy alone (no-XRT group) or to lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy to the ipsilateral breast (50 Gy given within 5 weeks, XRT group). All cancers were required to be invasive node-negative, smaller than 2 cm in diameter and well or moderately differentiated, to contain no extensive intraductal component, to be progesterone receptor-positive, DNA diploid, have S-phase fraction ≤7 and be excised with at least 1 cm margin. During a mean follow-up time of 6.7 years, 13 (18.1%) cancers recurred locally in the no-XRT and 6 (7.5%) in the XRT group (P = 0.03). There was no difference between the groups in the ultimate breast preservation rate (95.0% vs. 94.4% in XRT and no-XRT, respectively, P = 0.88), distant metastasis-free survival (P = 0.36), or 5-year cancer-specific survival (97.1% in XRT and 98.6 in no-XRT). Radiation therapy given after lumpectomy reduces the frequency of ipsilateral breast recurrences even in women with small breast cancer with several favourable clinical and biological features. However, the breast preservation rate may not increase due to more frequent use of salvage mastectomies in patients treated with postoperative radiotherapy. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign

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