Frequently asked questions


Radial margins must be equal to or greater than 1mm (see page 8 of protocol). However, where there is insufficient tissue to take a 1mm margin at the superficial or deep margin, these margins should be pathologically clear of tumour. Such a patient would be eligible, provided the surgeon has performed a full thickness excision right up to the subcutaneous fat and down to the pectoral fascia. If there is disease approaching, but not directly cut through at a margin, then the patient is eligible for PRIME.

Patients should be excluded if they have cut through disease at either the superficial or deep margins.


A minimum of 4 ipsilateral, lower axillary nodes must be sampled, unless a sentinel node biopsy is performed.


Patients with DCIS only are not eligible.

Patients with uni-focal invasive tumour surrounded by DCIS to a maximum area of involvement of 30mm are eligible providing the radial margins are clear (>=1mm) and superficial and deep margins are not directly cut through, as above.

Multiple tumours

Multiple tumours in either the same or contralateral breast render the patient ineligible.

Concurrent conditions

The following conditions are acceptable, provided all other eligibility criteria have been met.

Time from surgery to radiotherapy

From the point of view of the trial, we have no limit set on this period. However, it has been generally accepted that radiotherapy has to begin within 20 weeks of surgery to be effective.

Compatibility with other trials

AZURE - patients are not able to be eligible for both PRIME and AZURE
COMICE - patients are not able to be eligible for both PRIME and COMICE
HRT - patients are not able to be eligible for both PRIME and the HRT trial
IBIS-I/II - patients are eligible if they are in the endocrine therapy arm
TEAM - patients may be eligible for both trials (any form of endocrine therapy is acceptable to PRIME)

As more queries come in, this page will be updated.

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This page was written by Dr Linda Williams and last updated on 24th August 2005.