Overview of randomized trials of postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy in breast cancer.
Cuzick J., Stewart H., Peto R., Baum M., Fisher B., Host H., Lythgoe JP., Ribeiro G., Scheurlen H., Wallgren A.
An overview of the mortality results of the mature trials in which radiotherapy was a randomized option after simple or radical mastectomy is presented. The principal aim of the overview was to study long-term survival, and recent trials, often including chemotherapy options, have not been included. A total of 7941 patients were entered into these trials and 4148 deaths occurred. No differences were found in survival in the first 10 years of follow-up, in trials employing either radical mastectomy or simple mastectomy. Follow-up information after 10 years came mostly from trials employing radical mastectomy with or without irradiation, and in these trials a significant excess of deaths was observed among patients given radiotherapy (P less than 0.001, all trials; P = 0.002, radical mastectomy trials only). Further data collection will be necessary to determine which causes of death are elevated.