Lymph node irradiation therapy for BC in the 21st Century

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Published: 2 Feb 2023
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Prof Philip Poortmans - University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Prof Philip Poortmans speaks to ecancer about his talk on lymph node irradiation therapy for breast cancer in the 21st Century. 

His talk involved techniques for lymph node irradiation in breast cancer. In particular, patients in the screen population who have been treated with very effective systemic therapy.

The second presentation was on current indications and techniques for lymph node irradiation in breast cancer. We have new data and, unfortunately, the most recent data are not yet published. I gave, let’s say, a sneak preview, but it confirms that even in the nowadays population of patients in the screening population and treated with very effective systemic therapy, the contribution of nodal irradiation, lymph node irradiation, for breast cancer patients who have a risk, for example, due to aggressive biology or due to advanced stage, they indeed have a benefit in tumour control and in overall survival. This translation, which used typically to be a one in four factor – for every four recurrences that were prevented by radiation therapy there was one breast cancer mortality – in the new overview from EBCTCG to be published soon you will see that it is a one-to-one relation. For every recurrence prevented you save one life. So this was quite an important message. However, if we treat lymph nodes, we have to do it in technical optimal circumstances.