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Higher-Dose Radiation Therapy or Standard Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients With Early-Stage Breast Cancer That Was Removed by Surgery

RATIONALE: Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill tumor cells. It is not yet known whether high-dose radiation therapy is more effective than standard radiation therapy in treating breast cancer.

PURPOSE: This randomized phase III trial studies how well high-dose radiation therapy works compared to standard radiation therapy in treating patients with early-stage breast cancer that was removed by surgery.

OUTLINE: This is a multicenter study. Patients are randomized to 1 of 2 treatment arms. Treatment begins within 9 weeks of last surgery or chemotherapy delivery.

  • Arm I: Patients undergo standard whole-breast radiotherapy 5 days a week for 3-5 weeks followed by a sequential radiotherapy boost to the lumpectomy area 5 days a week for 1-1½ weeks. Treatment continues in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.
  • Arm II: Patients undergo accelerated hypofractionated whole-breast radiotherapy with a concurrent boost to the lumpectomy area 5 days a week for 3 weeks. Treatment continues in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

Patients' tissue samples may be collected for future research studies.

After completion of study therapy, patients are followed up for 1 month, at 6 months, and then yearly.

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