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Does Lymph Node Radiation prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence?


Clinical trial determines that radiation of lymph nodes does not prevent breast cancer recurrence

Breast cancer is a serious health issue that affects millions of people around the world. Given the number of treatment options available, it can be difficult for doctors and patients to determine the best course of action to reduce the risk of recurrence.

A clinical trial has been conducted to investigate the association between regional lymph node radiotherapy and breast cancer recurrence for patients with low-risk breast cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting women worldwide.

When breast cancer is diagnosed, doctors have to determine the severity of the cancer and the appropriate treatment options.

Lymph nodes are small glands that filter lymph, the fluid in our immune system. The lymph nodes are part of the body's immune system and are connected by lymphatic vessels. They play a crucial role in filtering out harmful substances and fighting off infections. When breast cancer spreads, it often travels to the lymph nodes first. Therefore, treating the lymph nodes with radiation therapy can help prevent cancer from recurring.

Regional nodal irradiation is a type of treatment that involves focusing radiation on the lymph nodes surrounding the breast. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells. However, its benefit in reducing cancer recurrence after surgery in low-risk women is unknown.

Clinical Trial

This trial examines the relationship between regional lymph node irradiation and breast cancer recurrence-free interval for patients with low-risk, node-positive breast cancer.

The trial involved 1,169 patients who had been diagnosed with low-risk breast cancer and had undergone surgery. Of these patients, 151 women did not receive radiation while 133 women received radiotherapy to the breast alone. In the remaining 885 patients, radiation therapy was given to the local lymph nodes as well. These women were followed up for an average of 9.2 years to detect breast cancer recurrence.

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The researchers found that regional nodal irradiation was not associated with a longer recurrence-free interval for these patients. The average recurrence-free rate was the same i.e. 90% in women treated with and without regional lymph node irradiation.

The results of the clinical trial indicate that patients who received regional nodal irradiation did not have a longer recurrence-free interval compared to those who did not receive this type of radiation therapy. Recurrence-free interval refers to the amount of time that passes between the initial treatment of breast cancer and the time when the cancer returns. A longer recurrence-free interval means that the cancer is less likely to come back.

The findings of this clinical trial are significant as they suggest that low-risk, node-positive breast cancer patients may not necessarily require regional nodal irradiation during treatment. This may help avoid unnecessary radiation exposure and potential side effects for patients who do not stand to benefit from the treatment.


The clinical trial suggests that regional nodal irradiation does not improve the recurrence-free interval for patients with low-risk, node-positive breast cancer and these patients should not undergo radiotherapy due to its harmful effects. Patients with breast cancer should consult with their doctors to determine the best treatment options for their specific case.

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.