Friday, June 17, 2011

secondary breast cancer after RT for HL

In the JCO this week:

An interesting article looking at the prognosis of patients developing a secondary breast cancer after RT for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, compared to sporadic disease. Perhaps not surprisingly, the cancers were detected earlier (due to more intensive screening), and was more likely to be bilateral. Additionally, there was increased risk to the other breast later in the woman's life. There was an increased risk of all cause mortality, and a non-significant increase in breast cancer specific mortality.

What this trial doesn't answer however is how patients with HL who did not recieve RT do with respect to breast cancer outcomes; therefor making it a little more difficulty to tease out the true effect of radiotherapy. That said, the finding are very consistent with the known increased risk of breast cancer induction from RT, and appropriately recommends close surveillance of these patients.

Abstract and Link:

Characteristics and Outcomes of Breast Cancer in Women With and Without a History of Radiation for Hodgkin's Lymphoma: A Multi-Institutional, Matched Cohort Study [Breast Cancer]: "Purpose

To compare characteristics and outcomes of breast cancer in women with and without a history of radiation therapy (RT) for Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL).

Patients and Methods

Women with breast cancer diagnosed from 1980 to 2006 after RT for HL were identified from eight North American hospitals and were matched three-to-one with patients with sporadic breast cancer by age, race, and year of breast cancer diagnosis. Information on patient, tumor and treatment characteristics, and clinical outcomes was abstracted from medical records.


A total of 253 patients with breast cancer with a history of RT for HL were matched with 741 patients with sporadic breast cancer. Median time from HL to breast cancer diagnosis was 18 years. Median age at breast cancer diagnosis was 42 years. Breast cancer after RT for HL was more likely to be detected by screening, was more likely to be diagnosed at an earlier stage, and was more likely to be bilateral at diagnosis. HL survivors had an increased risk of metachronous contralateral breast cancer (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 4.3; 95% CI, 1.7 to 11.0) and death as a result of any cause (adjusted HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.3). Breast cancer–specific mortality was also elevated, but this difference was not statistically significant (adjusted HR, 1.6; 95% CI, 0.7 to 3.4).


In women with a history of RT for HL, breast cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage, but these women are at greater risk for bilateral disease and are more likely to die as a result of causes other than breast cancer. Our findings support close follow-up for contralateral tumors in these patients and ongoing primary care to manage comorbid conditions.


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