Pre-mastectomy radiation reduces wait for breast reconstruction surgery

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In an innovative study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, researchers have introduced a game-changing approach to breast cancer treatment that prioritizes patient well-being and satisfaction.

By rearranging the traditional sequence of treatments, they’ve made it possible for patients to receive radiation therapy before undergoing a mastectomy, which then allows for immediate breast reconstruction during the same surgical procedure.

This method not only reduces the overall number of surgeries needed but also minimizes treatment delays and significantly boosts patient satisfaction.

Published in JAMA Network Open, the findings from this Phase II trial involved 49 patients who embarked on this new treatment journey. The results were promising, with no instances of flap losses or disease recurrence over an average follow-up period of nearly 30 months.

Lead author Mark Schaverien, M.D., highlighted the groundbreaking nature of this trial, marking it as a first in the U.S. to prove the safety and effectiveness of this innovative treatment sequence.

This approach not only improves surgical outcomes but also ensures patients can immediately undergo breast reconstruction surgery, greatly improving their quality of life.

The standard treatment plan often delays breast reconstruction to protect the final reconstruction from radiation exposure, aiming to mitigate long-term side effects and achieve satisfactory aesthetic results.

Typically, this involves the use of a tissue expander during mastectomy, followed by radiation therapy, with final reconstruction deferred for 6 to 12 months.

This delay can negatively affect patients’ quality of life and introduce potential complications from the tissue expander, including a significant risk of removal due to complications.

Schaverien’s study proposes a transformative solution: administering radiation before mastectomy and immediate reconstruction, thereby streamlining the patient’s treatment experience.

The trial included women from the SAPHIRE trial, with a median age of 48, most of whom had received neoadjuvant systemic therapy.

The study compared short course and standard course radiation therapy, followed by mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, showing that this approach yields a complication rate comparable to the standard of care in reconstructive surgery.

This innovative sequence offers immediate benefits, significantly reducing the emotional and physical strain associated with waiting for reconstruction.

With all patients in the study successfully undergoing tissue-based reconstruction without serious complications, this method presents a breakthrough in breast cancer treatment.

Benjamin Smith, M.D., co-author of the study, emphasized the profound impact of this approach, allowing women to quickly move forward with their lives post-treatment, feeling confident in their appearance without facing delays for reconstructive surgery.

Buoyed by these positive outcomes, the researchers have launched the Phase III TOPAz trial to further explore this approach, comparing it with the standard radiation timing and dosage.

This ongoing study aims to refine breast cancer treatment, making it as efficient and patient-friendly as possible.

If you care about breast cancer, please read studies about a major cause of deadly breast cancer, and common blood pressure drugs may increase death risk in breast cancer.

For more information about cancer, please see recent studies that new cancer treatment could reawaken the immune system, and results showing vitamin D can cut cancer death risk.

The research findings can be found in JAMA Network Open.

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