The Villages Voice - May 2011

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Moffitt Introduces a Single Dose Radiation Treatment

by Staff

Moffitt Cancer Center Introduces a Single-Dose Radiation Treatment Alternative to Women with Early Breast Cancer


Moffitt Cancer Center validated a one-time radiation treatment with the INTRABEAM® System, a new radiation platform that is designed to replace as many as six-and-a-half weeks of routine radiation therapy with a single 20- to 30-minute targeted radiation treatment.  This revolutionary system delivers intraoperative radiation treatment directly to the tumor site after lumpectomy, and was shown to be as effective as traditional radiation for certain women with early breast cancer.  

Unlike whole breast radiation treatment, which is administered five times per week for as many as six-and-a-half weeks, the INTRABEAM® System provides patients with a targeted single-dose radiation treatment delivered intraoperatively after removal of the tumor. Before the surgeon closes the incision, the INTRABEAM® applicator is positioned in the area of the breast where the tumor was located. This ensures radiation delivery accuracy and minimizes geographical miss. The INTRABEAM® radiation is applied for 20 to 30 minutes, exposing the affected tissue in the tumor bed from the inside. The surgeon then removes the INTRABEAM®  applicator and closes the incision.


In addition to the convenience of a one-time treatment, the INTRABEAM® system has been shown to provide additional benefits compared to traditional external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). These include less irritation of healthy breast tissues, minimized exposure to the chest cavity and underlying organs, and fewer skin reactions, such as redness, rashes and irritation. There is also no treatment delay for patients who must also undergo chemotherapy as part of the breast cancer treatment compared to EBRT.

“Intraoperative, single-dose partial breast radiation promises to improve women’s access to breast conservation therapy and to significantly improve quality of life for these women, with its dramatically reduced treatment time and decreased side effects from radiation,” said Eleanor Harris, M.D., clinical director and service chief for the breast and gynecological clinical and research divisions for Moffitt’s Radiation Oncology Program.

Currently, eligible candidates for the INTRABEAM® single-dose treatments include patients with small tumor size, negative excision margins, negative lymph nodes and those who are postmenopausal age. Women who do not qualify for INTRABEAM® single-dose therapy may still be eligible to receive INTRABEAM® Boost treatment, which delivers a single dose of radiation directly to the tumor bed during surgery prior to the start of whole breast radiation therapy (WBRT). This can reduce the total radiotherapy treatment regimen duration by five to eight days.