Worldwide innovation at the Antoine Lacassagne Cancer Center, Nice, France: Intraoperative radiotherapy in 1 minute for the small breast cancers treatment

October 9, 2020

Centre Antoine Lacassagne

With this worldwide innovation, patients with small breast cancer can be treated with a single session of radiotherapy in one minute – instead of 30 minutes previously- in the operating room during the procedure to remove their tumor (IntraOperative Radiotherapy), thanks to the new Papillon™ device. They can be treated in one single day, instead of 3 or 4 days of hospitalization and 6 weeks of radiotherapy.

Thanks to screening, small breast cancers (less than 2 cm diameter single tumor without lymph node involvement) are being diagnosed more and more often. Most of the time, they are cured and are treated by removing the tumor during surgery (tumorectomy), followed by 6 weeks of radiation therapy to prevent a local relapse in the preserved breast. Since 2011, it was possible to perform radiotherapy during surgery.
Once the tumor removed, an irradiation is then delivered directly to the breast, the patient still being under general anesthesia. The downside of this first generation device is that the irradiation time is 30 minutes.“

Reduced irradiation time

With the new Papillon +™ device designed by Prof. Jean Pierre GERARD, Radiotherapist at the Antoine Lacassagne Cancer Center in Nice, France, in cooperation with a British start-up (ARIANE cpy), the irradiation time is reduced to 1 minute thanks to an original cooling system.

Two major advantages of this new technique:

  • for the patient, thanks to this outpatient surgery, she feels like her illness is less serious treated
    in one single day (instead of 3 or 4 days of hospitalization and 6 weeks of radiation).
  • for the hospital, a major time saving (30 minutes) which saves surgeon, doctor and staff time by
    allowing better use of the operating room.


From October 2018 to October 2019, 26 patients were treated at Center Antoine  Lacassagne with this technique. To date, no severe complications have been observed and all patients are apparently cured and satisfied with their treatment.
We expect at least 90% cure and less than 4% local relapse. In 2021 this technique, at this moment reserved for patients 65 years of age or over (after 65 years of age, the risk of local relapse is lower) will widespread in France and throughout the world. We are taking a further step towards more cure, without mutilation and especially towards less restrictive treatments that allow us to better overcome the psychological ordeal of cancerous disease. » explains Pr Jean Pierre GERARD.

This clinical study is controlled by the French High Authority of Health..

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