Local control by radiotherapy: is that all there is?

Breast Cancer Res. 2008;10(6):215. doi: 10.1186/bcr2160. Epub 2008 Nov 5.


Radiotherapy is a local treatment modality employed in breast cancer to reduce local recurrence following surgery. The observed association of optimal local control with improved survival was not expected in a disease characterized by early systemic spread. The underlying mechanisms whereby the application of ionizing radiation to the primary tumor site can have systemic effects remain unclear and are the subject of much debate. In the present article we discuss the hypothesis that radiotherapy has unique biological effects and that, in addition to killing residual neoplastic cells after surgery is performed, it might favorably alter the microenvironment at the primary tumor site during the process of wound healing and the development of antitumor immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control*