Dr. DuPree Provides Z11 Trial Takeaway Points

Beth DuPree, MD
Published: Thursday, Nov 17, 2011

Beth DuPree, MD, Medical Director, The Breast Health Program, Holy Redeemer Health System, explains that the Z11 trial that looked at the elimination of axillary dissection in patients with breast cancer has a lot to offer despite the criticisms of the trial.

The trial demonstrated that systemic treatment of cancer with chemotherapy plays an important role, especially in breast cancer. 97% of patients on the trial received chemotherapy.

Some of the patients on the trial received higher levels of radiation therapy than others. The criteria used to decide which patients received more was unclear and it was unknown whether there was an intentional increase in the use of radiation therapy in certain patients. The trial does suggest that rather than completing axillary dissection it may be possible to control the axilla using radiation alone.

Many of the criticisms of the study were well founded, but the study still played an important role. Lymphedema can be very impairing for women and the Z11 trial has aided in the prevention of aggressive and unneeded surgeries that result in this debilitating side effect.

Beth DuPree, MD, Medical Director, The Breast Health Program, Holy Redeemer Health System, explains that the Z11 trial that looked at the elimination of axillary dissection in patients with breast cancer has a lot to offer despite the criticisms of the trial.

The trial demonstrated that systemic treatment of cancer with chemotherapy plays an important role, especially in breast cancer. 97% of patients on the trial received chemotherapy.

Some of the patients on the trial received higher levels of radiation therapy than others. The criteria used to decide which patients received more was unclear and it was unknown whether there was an intentional increase in the use of radiation therapy in certain patients. The trial does suggest that rather than completing axillary dissection it may be possible to control the axilla using radiation alone.

Many of the criticisms of the study were well founded, but the study still played an important role. Lymphedema can be very impairing for women and the Z11 trial has aided in the prevention of aggressive and unneeded surgeries that result in this debilitating side effect.


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