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[MOL] NEWS:Post-surgery radiotherapy for lung cancer harmful



`Post-surgery radiotherapy for lung cancer harmful' 

                LONDON: The common practice of exposing lung cancer patients
                to radiation therapy after surgery may do more harm than good
                and should not be used routinely, a study published on Friday
                said. 

                Many lung cancer patients undergo radiation therapy after
                surgery to treat any remaining cancer cells. But the results of
                previous studies examining the effectiveness of the treatment
                have been contradictory or inconclusive. 

                In the largest study of its kind, an international team of
                researchers combined information gathered over the past 30
                years in nine studies, involving 2,128 lung cancer patients
                worldwide. 

                Patients who had been treated with radiation therapy after
                surgery were 21 per cent more likely to die than those who only
                had surgery, the study published in this week's issue of The
                Lancet, a British medical journal, said. Researchers are unsure
                why radiation therapy caused more deaths earlier. 

                Nearly 900,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with lung
                cancer every year, a World Health Organisation report said. 

                Dr Gordon McVie, director- general at the Cancer Research
                Campaign in London and a lung cancer specialist who was not
                part of the study, said the research was authoritative and
                important. 

                ``It should be compulsory reading for chief executives of
                hospitals. In many parts, this is routine treatment. It has been
                assumed that it was a good idea,'' he said. ``I was unsurprised
                that radiotherapy didn't prolong survival, but what I'm really
                concerned about is that it could actually do harm. There is a
                very clear message here.'' 

                The patients in the study had non-small-cell lung cancer,
                which accounts for 80 per cent of all lung cancer cases. As many
                as 1,056 had surgery and radiotherapy while 1,072 had surgery
                alone. 

                The detrimental effect was worst in patients in the early stages
                of the disease, the study said. In those with more advanced but
                still operable lung cancer, the study said radiation therapy did
                not seem to cause harm although it also did not appear to help. 

                ``The 21 per cent relative increase in the risk of death
                associated with radiotherapy, equivalent to an overall reduction
                in survival from 55 per cent (for surgery alone) to 48 per cent
                (for surgery and radiotherapy) at two years, represents a
                substantial hazard to these patients,'' said Lesley Stewart of 
the
                Medical Research Council, which led the study. 

                Researchers concluded that ``radiation therapy should not be
                given routinely to patients in the early stage of non-small-cell
                lung cancer and that its role in the treatment of more advanced
                stages of the disease is not clear and may warrant further
                research.'' 

                ``There was some hint that it might prevent recurring tumours,
                but that was heavily outweighed by the ill effects - the
                increased deaths,'' Mr Stewart said. 

                In an independent commentary, also published in The Lancet,
                Dr Alistair Munro of Ninewells hospital in Dundee, Scotland,
                said post-operative radiotherapy doses are ``too high and that
                there are valuable lessons to be learned'' from the Cambridge
                study.(AP)
                
                
                http://www.timesofindia.com/today/25home7.htm

                
Title: 25 July 1998 : `Post-surgery radiotherapy for lung cancer harmful'
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The Times of India
Saturday 25 July 1998

India Metropolis World Stocks Business Sport Editorial

`Post-surgery radiotherapy for lung cancer harmful'

LONDON: The common practice of exposing lung cancer patients to radiation therapy after surgery may do more harm than good and should not be used routinely, a study published on Friday said.

Many lung cancer patients undergo radiation therapy after surgery to treat any remaining cancer cells. But the results of previous studies examining the effectiveness of the treatment have been contradictory or inconclusive.

In the largest study of its kind, an international team of researchers combined information gathered over the past 30 years in nine studies, involving 2,128 lung cancer patients worldwide.

Patients who had been treated with radiation therapy after surgery were 21 per cent more likely to die than those who only had surgery, the study published in this week's issue of The Lancet, a British medical journal, said. Researchers are unsure why radiation therapy caused more deaths earlier.

Nearly 900,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, a World Health Organisation report said.

Dr Gordon McVie, director- general at the Cancer Research Campaign in London and a lung cancer specialist who was not part of the study, said the research was authoritative and important.

``It should be compulsory reading for chief executives of hospitals. In many parts, this is routine treatment. It has been assumed that it was a good idea,'' he said. ``I was unsurprised that radiotherapy didn't prolong survival, but what I'm really concerned about is that it could actually do harm. There is a very clear message here.''

The patients in the study had non-small-cell lung cancer, which accounts for 80 per cent of all lung cancer cases. As many as 1,056 had surgery and radiotherapy while 1,072 had surgery alone.

The detrimental effect was worst in patients in the early stages of the disease, the study said. In those with more advanced but still operable lung cancer, the study said radiation therapy did not seem to cause harm although it also did not appear to help.

``The 21 per cent relative increase in the risk of death associated with radiotherapy, equivalent to an overall reduction in survival from 55 per cent (for surgery alone) to 48 per cent (for surgery and radiotherapy) at two years, represents a substantial hazard to these patients,'' said Lesley Stewart of the Medical Research Council, which led the study.

Researchers concluded that ``radiation therapy should not be given routinely to patients in the early stage of non-small-cell lung cancer and that its role in the treatment of more advanced stages of the disease is not clear and may warrant further research.''

``There was some hint that it might prevent recurring tumours, but that was heavily outweighed by the ill effects - the increased deaths,'' Mr Stewart said.

In an independent commentary, also published in The Lancet, Dr Alistair Munro of Ninewells hospital in Dundee, Scotland, said post-operative radiotherapy doses are ``too high and that there are valuable lessons to be learned'' from the Cambridge study.(AP)

The Economic Times

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