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Eur J Cancer. 1991;27(4):447-50.

Iridium implant treatment without external radiotherapy for operable breast cancer: a pilot study.

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ICRF Department of Clinical Oncology, UMDS, London, U.K.


A pilot study has been conducted to examine a new approach to the treatment of operable breast carcinoma. 27 patients with tumours measuring up to 4 cm in diameter have been treated by tumourectomy, axillary clearance and high dose iridium-192 implant (55 Gy) without any external beam radiotherapy. This enabled the entire local primary treatment of the breast carcinoma to be given in five days. The technique was compatible with adjuvant chemotherapy for those with involved axillary nodes. Local complications have been few and locoregional control has to date been satisfactory. With a relatively short median follow-up of 27 months, cosmesis was objectively rated as good or excellent in over 80% of cases and subjectively rated good/excellent in 96%. High dose brachytherapy now requires testing in a prospective clinical trial to determine whether it is as effective as standard breast conservation techniques for management of early breast cancer.

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