National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
February 23, 2010 • Volume 7 / Number 4


During breast-conserving surgery (BCS), only the portion of the breast containing the tumor and sometimes lymph nodes in the armpit are removed. In this image, the dotted lines show examples of tissues that might be removed during BCS.Shorter Course of Radiation Effective and Safe for Some Women with Early-stage Breast Cancer

Giving radiation therapy in fewer but larger doses may be an alternative to standard radiation therapy for some women with early-stage breast cancer. A trial testing this approach, called hypofractionated radiation therapy, has found that the regimen tested did not increase long-term toxicities and resulted in rates of survival and local recurrence similar to those seen with standard radiation therapy. The study results, published in the February 11 New England Journal of Medicine, had the longest follow-up results of any study to date of hypofractionated radiation therapy for breast cancer. Read more > >


Guest Director's Update: Working within Radiation Oncology to Maximize Benefits and Minimize Harms

by Drs. Bhadrasain Vikram, James Deye, and C. Norman Coleman

Radiation therapy has been used to treat cancer for over a century. A high enough dose of ionizing radiation will kill any living cell, and cancer cells are no exception. The objective of radiation therapy, therefore, is to deliver high enough doses of radiation to cancer cells while minimizing the dose to healthy cells that are also exposed.

We are not yet at a point where we can image individual cancer cells in cancer patients, but we can image macroscopic clusters of cancer cells ranging in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. The radiation oncologist then strives to irradiate that cluster of cancer cells (the “target volume”) in a beam of high-dose radiation while minimizing the dose to healthy tissues (the “organs at risk”) outside the cluster. Read more > >



Training Featured on

This month the homepage highlights training at NCI and through extramural sources. Read more about these opportunities by clicking in the banner or going to NCI Features: Training the Future Oncology Workforce.

Also, check out the NCI Cancer Bulletin special issue on training, published December 1, 2009, that includes important commentaries from key leaders about the future of the cancer research workforce.



  • FDA Update

    • Initiative Aims to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging
    • Rituximab Approved for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
    • FDA Announces Risk Management Program for Anemia Drugs


    • NCI 2011 Budget Proposal Available Online
    • NCAB Convenes Its First Meeting of 2010
    • NCI Funds Eleven Centers for Cancer Systems Biology
    • President’s Cancer Panel Concludes Series on Disparities and Cancer

Selected articles from past issues of the NCI Cancer Bulletin are available in Spanish.

The NCI Cancer Bulletin is produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which was established in 1937. Through basic, clinical, and population-based biomedical research and training, NCI conducts and supports research that will lead to a future in which we can identify the environmental and genetic causes of cancer, prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

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