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November 14, 2001

Outcomes of Adjuvant Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer in Women With Ataxia-Telangiectasia Mutations

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(18):2233-2234. doi:10.1001/jama.286.18.2233

To the Editor: Women who are carriers of single mutations in the ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) gene have been shown to have an increased risk of breast cancer.1 It has been estimated that 8% to 10% of all patients with breast cancer carry an A-T mutation.1 Since patients who have homozygous or compound heterozygous A-T mutations can experience devastating necrosis of normal tissues if they receive conventional doses of radiation therapy (RT) for lymphoid tumors, patients who have single mutations would theoretically also be vulnerable to excess damage from RT.2 However, excessive toxicity has not been observed among such patients who were treated with RT for cancer.3 In fact, it is possible that because tumor cells grow more rapidly than normal cells, RT may be a particularly effective cancer treatment for patients with single A-T mutations. We examined the effects of adjuvant RT on the clinical outcomes of such patients.

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