Orthovoltage X-rays for Postoperative Treatment of Resected Basal Cell Carcinoma in the Head and Neck Area

December 30, 2016


Surgery is the golden standard for treating basal cell carcinomas. In case of positive tumor margins or recurrent disease, postoperative adjuvant or salvaging therapy is suggested to achieve good local control.


To retrospectively report on local control and toxicity of postoperative radiotherapy by means of orthovoltage X-rays for residual or recurrent basal cell carcinoma after surgery in the head and neck area.


Sixty-six surgically resected residual or recurrent basal cell carcinomas of the head and neck region were irradiated postoperatively by means of orthovoltage X-rays at the Netherlands Cancer Institute between January 2000 and February 2015.


After a median follow-up duration of 30.5 months, only 5 recurrences were reported. The 5-year local control rates at 1, 3, and 5 years were 100%, 87%, and 87%, respectively. The 5-year local control rate was 92% for immediate postoperative radiotherapy of incompletely resected basal cell carcinomas, 90% for recurrences after 1 previously performed excision, and 71% for multiple recurrences, namely, a history of more than 1 excision ( P = .437). Acute toxicity healed spontaneously within 3 months. Late toxicities were mild.


Radiotherapy by means of orthovoltage X-ray is an excellent alternative for re-excision in case of incompletely resected or recurrent basal cell carcinomas that are at risk of serious functional and cosmetic impairments after re-excision, with a 5-year local control rate of 87% and a low toxicity profile.

Duinkerken CW, Lohuis PJFM, Crijns MB, Navran A, Haas RLM, Hamming-Vrieze O, Klop WMC, van den Brekel MWM & Al-Mamgani A.

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