Single-dose intra-operative breast cancer radiotherapy (TARGIT-IORT) – innovative, effective, far less trouble to the patient

Author(s): Professor Jeffrey Tobias, Professor Jayant Vaidya, Professor Michael Baum

Hospital: University College London

Reference: RAD Magazine, 47, 552, 27-28


The September 2020 issue of RAD Magazine and the front page of The Times on August 20, 2020, both featured the excellent long term results of the TARGIT-A trial of intra-operative radiotherapy (TARGIT-IORT) for early breast cancer that were published in The BMJ. These results had widespread international media coverage – very unusual in trials of radiotherapy.

The study concept was straightforward: since almost all local recurrences of early breast cancer occur at the initial site – the index quadrant – rather than other parts of the same breast, might it be sufficient to target radiotherapy only at the initial site and deliver it immediately after lumpectomy, under the same anaesthetic? The great advantage, of course, would be the avoidance of unnecessary treatment to the rest of the breast. It would also avoid scattered irradiation to other organs such as the lung and heart.

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