Clinical Research Breast and Gynecologic Cancers

Strategic Direction and Overarching Themes for the Service

Clinical and translational research in the breast and gynecologic team in the department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania focuses on:

  • The impact of radiation therapy on quality of life for women with breast and gynecologic cancers.
  • Developing methods for cardiac-sparing radiation therapy for women with breast cancer including prone positioning, respiratory gating and proton beam radiation.
  • Increasing the use of accelerated methods of radiation for breast cancer that aim to maintain the same rate of cure but decrease length of treatment and cost, and increase convenience of care.
  • Developing new methods to image cancers for radiation treatment planning and assessing response to therapy.
  • Exploring the role of proton therapy for women with breast cancer.
  • Exploring the role of proton therapy for women with cancers of the cervix and uterus.

Description of Programs and Protocols within the Service

Principal Investigator: Justin E. Bekelman, M.D.
UPCC#: 19115

The Radiotherapy Comparative Effectiveness (RADCOMP) Consortium will conduct a pragmatic randomized clinical trial in which 1,716 patients with non-metastatic breast cancer involving lymph nodes under the arm or above the collarbone will be randomized after surgery to either proton therapy or photon therapy, the current standard treatment. Patients will be followed to determine differences in heart problems, cancer control, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) after treatment. The primary outcomes are major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, chest pain, and other heart problems that patients and doctors care about. Cancer control outcomes include local-regional breast cancer recurrence and any breast cancer recurrence. HRQOL outcomes include body image and function, fatigue, anxiety, social roles, general HRQOL, side effects burden, financial burden, and satisfaction.

Publications from the Service Members