Norwalk Hospital enrolls participants in breast cancer radiation therapy clinical trial

Philip Gilbo, MD, Chief of Radiation Oncology and Christine Chin, MD, Radiation Oncology discussing a breast cancer clinical trial.


Norwalk Hospital is enrolling participants in a radiation oncology clinical trial for women who had surgery for breast cancer.


Norwalk Hospital has opened a clinical trial for women with breast cancer who need radiation therapy after either breast-conserving surgery or mastectomy. Researchers are studying how much radiation to deliver to participants based on an individual’s risk of cancer recurrence. Norwalk Hospital is one of a few sites in Connecticut conducting the clinical trial.


Researchers are studying whether women with a low risk of cancer recurrence, as defined by an OncotypeTM recurrence score of 25 or less, can effectively have less radiation therapy.


Women with breast cancer usually have surgery and radiation therapy. Radiation therapy aims to lower the risk of cancer recurrence. How much radiation an individual needs depends on whether the cancer has spread and their genetic risk of cancer.


Women with ER positive, HER2-negative breast cancer and one to three positive axillary lymph nodes (low-burden nodal disease) usually receive radiation therapy to the breast or chest wall as well as the comprehensive regional lymph nodes. However, researchers want to know whether women at low risk of recurrence need this much radiation therapy.


“The clinical trial is important because radiation to the lymph nodes increases the radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissues, including the heart and lungs,” explained Dr. Christine Chin, a radiation oncologist at Norwalk Hospital. “It also increases an individual’s risk of lymphedema, which is swelling in the arm that can be uncomfortable.”

Christine Chin, MD, radiation oncology at Norwalk Hospital, part of Nuvance Health



“Radiation therapy is a pillar of breast cancer care and critical to reducing the risk of recurrence. But if we can tailor treatments for individuals based on their genomic risk and deliver less radiation, we can effectively treat the cancer and also minimize side effects,” Dr. Chin said.



The clinical trial is designed to randomly assign participants to radiotherapy to the breast alone or the breast, chest wall and comprehensive regional lymph nodes. Women who have received neoadjuvant systemic therapy (chemotherapy before surgery or radiation) are not eligible for the clinical trial.


Participants will participate in the study at the Whittingham Cancer Center. To learn more about the clinical trial, email