Clinical studies are first required before targeted intraoperative radiotherapy can become established as a new treatment option, allowing a large number of patients to benefit from this type of treatment.
The aim of the TARGIT-A study (TARGeted Intraoperative radioTherapy) is to show that minimally invasive radiotherapy during breast surgery (intraoperative radiotherapy, IORT) can be just as effective as traditional radiotherapy, which takes approximately 3-6 weeks and is often experienced as very stressful by patients. Targeted intraoperative radiotherapy minimizes the time required for the treatment and therefore also the possible side-effects.
Patients who are 45 years of age or older with a breast carcinoma verified by biopsy and suitable for breast conserving surgery can be included in the study. Within the TARGIT-A randomised trial, they are offered on a random basis, to either received their radiotherapy immediately after the removal of the tumor, the usual course of external radiotherapy. If the detailed examination of the tissue sample by the pathologist after the surgery reveals further risk factors, the patients additionally receive traditional external radiotherapy; this is expected in about 15% of cases.
Over 2000 patients are being studied and the results of this trial which started in March 2000 are expected to be announced soon.