ISLAMABAD (Online) A single dose of radiation during surgery is just as effective as a prolonged course of radiotherapy for breast cancer, a study suggests. Doctors have tested the technique, which involves a single shot of radiotherapy to a tumour site, in more than 2,000 patients. It could save the UK 15m a year, the researchers said. Cancer Research UK said The Lancet study could have a huge impact for patients. The researchers said using the one-stop procedure would be more convenient for patients and cut waiting lists. Treatment to surgically remove cancerous breast tissue is the starting point of treatment for thousands of women in Britain each year. That is often followed up with weeks of radiotherapy to the whole breast to kill any remaining cancer cells. But with the new technique, doctors use a mobile radiotherapy machine that can be inserted into the breast to target the exact site of the cancer. Led by a UK team, but carried out in nine countries, the four-year trial in women over 45 showed similar rates of disease recurrence regardless of the treatment used. There were six cases of the disease returning in those who had the new single-dose technique and five cases in those undergoing a prolonged course of radiotherapy. But the single dose during surgery avoids potential damage to organs such as the heart, lung, and oesophagus, which can occur during radiation to the whole breast, the researchers said. The frequency of any complications and major toxic effects was similar in the two groups. University College London Hospitals (UCLH) oncologist Prof Jeffrey Tobias, who enrolled the first patient on the trial at the former Middlesex Hospital in London with oncologist Jayant Vaidya, said: I think the reason why it works so well is because of the precision of the treatment. It eradicates the very highest risk area - the part of the breast from which the tumour was removed. Meanwhile, Mr Vaidya, who is also a UCLH oncologist, said the new treatment could mean that many more women could conserve their breasts. Josephine Ford, 80, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2008 and was successfully treated with this form of treatment three months later. She said this approach simplified everything and made the process less traumatic. And she added that it made her life so much easier since she didnt have to come back to the radiotherapy department on a daily basis for five or six weeks. While optimistic about the results, the researchers stressed the findings were only applicable to women with a similar type of breast cancer as those in the trial. But they added: Treatment of patients with breast cancer accounts for about a third of the workload of radiotherapy departments in some parts of the world and contributes substantially to the unacceptable waiting lists seen in many oncology departments worldwide. In countries such as the UK where the waiting list for postoperative radiotherapy could rapidly diminish with use of targeted intraoperative radiotherapy, we estimate savings of around 15m a year. Kate Law, director of clinical research at Cancer Research UK, said: Radiotherapy is already a very effective treatment, so improving that even further is an exciting prospect. Further follow-up of these women will be needed to confirm whether this strategy not only makes the most of the therapys power but also minimises any long-term side effects. Hip exercises effective at reducing common knee pain in runners Hip exercises can reduce a common type of knee pain in runners, according to researchers. The study by Tracy Dierks, assistant professor in the department of Physical Therapy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, found a twice weekly hip strengthening regimen performed for six weeks proved surprisingly effective at reducing, and in some cases eliminating, knee pain referred to as patellofemoral pain (PFP) in female runners. The study was based on the theory that stronger hips would correct running form errors that contribute to PFP, even though study participants were given no instruction in gait training. The study used a pain scale of 0 to 10, with 3 representing the onset of pain and 7 representing very strong pain the point at which the runners normally stop running because the pain is too great. The injured runners began the six-week trial registering pain of 7 when they ran on a treadmill and finished the study period registering pain levels of 2 or lower; i.e. no onset of pain. I wasnt expecting such huge reductions, to be honest, Dierks said. Weve had a couple of runners who have been at level 2, but the overwhelming majority have been a 2 or below. PFP, one of the most common running injuries, is caused when the thigh bone rubs against the back of the knee cap. Runners with PFP typically do not feel pain when they begin running, but once the pain begins, it gets increasingly worse. Once they stop running, the pain goes away almost immediately. Dierks said studies indicate PFP essentially wears away cartilage and can have the same effect as osteoarthritis. His study participants showed many of the classic signs of PFP, the most prominent being their knees collapsing inward when running or doing a squat exercise move. The pilot study thus far involved five runners and a control group that comprised another four runners. Hip strength measurements were taken before and after the runners in the control group maintained their normal running schedule for six weeks. Hip strength measurements were taken for all of the runners before and after the next six-week period in which they all performed the hip-strengthening exercises. The exercises, performed twice a week for around 30 to 45 minutes, involved single-leg squats and exercises with a resistance band, all exercises that can be performed at home. This study is part of an ongoing study involving hip exercises and PFP pain, with 11 runners successfully using the intervention. Green tea may help treat chronic leukemia Researchers have discovered that an extract of green tea may be helpful in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. Researchers at Mayo Clinic say that use of the chemical epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) - the major component of green tea, may reduce the number of leukemia cells in patients with CLL. This laboratory finding was followed by a successful phase I clinical trial the first time green tea extract had been studied in CLL patients. Although only a comparative phase III trial can determine whether EGCG can delay progression of CLL, the benefits we have seen in most CLL patients who use the chemical suggest that it has modest clinical activity and may be useful for stabilizing this form of leukemia, potentially slowing it down, says Tait Shanafelt, MD, a Mayo Clinic hematologist and lead author of the study. These studies advance the notion that a nutraceutical like EGCG can and should be studied as cancer preventives, says Neil Kay, MD, a hematology researcher whose laboratory first tested the green tea extract in leukemic blood cells from CLL patients. Using nontoxic chemicals to push back cancer growth to delay the need for toxic therapies is a worthy goal in oncology research particularly for forms of cancer initially managed by observation such as CLL. Scientists caution though, that EGCG is not a substitute for chemotherapy. CLL is a blood cancer that is a hybrid between leukemia and lymphoma. Progression of the disease is measured by the quantity of leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow as well as enlargement of lymph nodes due to infiltration by the leukemia cells. After the phase I study, where scientists found a reduced cell count in 60% patients, they launched their phase II clinical trial in an additional 36 patients. Results from 41 patients who have completed the study show that 31% of patients had a 20% or greater sustained reduction in blood leukemia count, and 69% of patients with enlarged lymph nodes saw a reduction of node size of 50% or greater. The researchers also studied the side effects, since EGCG was being studied in patients who did not otherwise need treatment. All in all, the treatment was well tolerated with very mild side effects in most patients, Shanafelt says. Kay however warns that not all CLL patients can use the treatment without consulting their oncologists and proper lab tests. The findings are to be presented Monday, June 7, during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).