The largest trial in the US on breast cancer which began the shift away from mastectomy as the preferred treatment was falsified (BMJ, 26 March 1994). About 100 ineligible patients were included in the trial, which involved 5000 patients in 485 acade
The results, published in 1985, concluded that lumpectomy removing just the lump plus radiotherapy was as effective as mastectomy in treating breast cancer in the early stages.
Following frantic calls from patients and doctors who feared their treatment was based on false data, once the Chicago Tribune uncovered the fraud, two teams ran through the research, excluding the ineligible patients, and produced the same findings.
While some expressed doubts about the assurances, most cancer surgeons in the US said they would continue to advise women to undergo lumpectomy and radiation treatment. Four more recent studies have shown similar outcomes, and in 1990 a consensus conference on cancer arrived at the same conclusion.