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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-19

Post-mastectomy radiotherapy for one to three axillary node positive early breast cancer: To radiate or not to radiate?

1 Department of Radiotherapy, Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, India
2 Department of Radiotherapy, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Department of Radiotherapy, Sanjay Gandhi Post graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Tamojit Chaudhuri
Department of Radiotherapy, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow - 226 014
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-0513.110760

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Post-mastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT) in early breast cancer has long been a matter of debate among oncologists. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) recommend the use of PMRT for patients, whose primary tumor is larger than 5 cm and/or patients who have four or more involved axillary lymph nodes (ALNs). Recently, few trials have been published showing the positive impact of PMRT on overall survival (OS) even in patients having 1-3 positive ALNs with T1-T2 primary disease or early breast cancer (EBC). So, it has become a matter of controversy whether to radiate or not to radiate? We have made an extensive search in the internet in Pubmed and other sites of medical publication mentioning our topic of discussion and reviewed the relevant articles. We nearly got 3,220 articles. After reviewing the available publications in the internet, we blended the elixir with our experience and tried to find an answer of our question. In conclusion, PMRT significantly and substantially improved loco-regional control and overall survival in patients with 1-3 positive nodes as in patients with 4 or more positive nodes, and nearly the same number of patients is needed to treat to avoid a loco-regional recurrence and/or death in both groups. We should reconsider the current guidelines for the indication for PMRT.

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