adjuvant radiotherapy

Last reviewed 01/2018

This may be in the form of preoperative radiotherapy so as to attempt to reduce the size and extent of an otherwise inoperable tumour, or, postoperative radiotherapy where the therapy is designed to treat possible microscopic foci outside the apparent tumour mass.

Adjuvant radiotherapy does reduce the incidence of local recurrence in common tumours, e.g. lung, bowel cancer.

A meta-analysis has been shown that radiotherapy reduces the local recurrence rate by about two-thirds and significantly reduces breast cancer-related deaths (1).


  • 1) Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group. (2000). Favourable and unfavourable effects on long-term survival of radiotherapy for early breast cancer: an overview of the randomised trials. Lancet 355, 1757-70.