ecancermedicalscience

Special Issue

Update on intraoperative radiotherapy: new challenges and issues

10 Jan 2018
Emanuela Esposito, Michael Douek

Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) for breast cancer has challenged the standard external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and has been shown to be non-inferior for treating early breast cancer in the past decade. Several technologies have been tested for IORT and various randomised controlled trials are still ongoing. Different methods of application of IORT have also been evaluated, from early breast cancer to tumour bed boost radiotherapy amongst high risk women. TARGIT-A and ELIOT trials have reported a low incidence of local recurrence and good survival in both arms. Moreover, mortality has been found to be lower amongst women who underwent partial breast radiotherapy compared to those treated with EBRT in a recent meta-analysis. Despite this, IORT has not been introduced in the current clinical practice as yet, and many clinicians do not mention this treatment option to patients awaiting breast cancer surgery. The scientific community does not unanimously support the effectiveness of IORT and still raises concerns about introducing IORT as a standard treatment option for breast cancer. Current evidence demonstrates that IORT is ready for roll-out; it is time to let well-selected and informed patients be offered this treatment option in the current clinical practice.

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