Radiation therapy for early stages of morbus Ledderhose

January 1, 2010


To evaluate the efficacy of radiation therapy (RT) in the treatment of early stages of benign plantar fibromatosis (Morbus Ledderhose [ML]).


From 2003 to 2008, 24 patients (33 sites) with a mean age of 52 years received RT for symptomatic ML. Prior to RT, 19 patients complained of pain and 15 had walking difficulties. 21 patients (28 sites) were irradiated with orthovoltage X-rays and three (five sites) received electron-beam irradiation. The RT protocol consisted of five weekly fractions of 3.0 Gy (15 Gy), repeated after 6 weeks to a total dose of 30 Gy in 20 patients (28 sites). In four patients (five sites), two single fractions of 4.0 Gy were applied, repeated at intervals of 4 weeks to total doses of 24-32 Gy. Primary study endpoints were the prevention of disease progression and the avoidance of a surgical intervention. Secondary endpoints were pain relief, improvement of gait, and patients’ subjective satisfaction measured with a linear analog scale (LAS).


After a median follow-up of 22.5 months, none of the patients experienced a progression of number and size of the lesions or the clinical symptoms. In eleven sites (33.3%) complete remission of cords or nodules occurred, in 18 (54.5%) a reduced number or size was noted, and four sites (12.1%) were unchanged. Pain relief was achieved in 13/19 patients (68.4%), and an improvement of gait abnormalities was noted in 11/15 patients (73.3%). The patients’ subjective satisfaction measured by means of the LAS revealed a median improvement of 3.5 points in 22/24 patients (91.6%). Skin or soft tissues toxicities RTOG grade > 2 were not noted.


RT is effective for treatment of the early stages of ML and may obviate the need for a surgical intervention. Long-term follow-up studies including a larger number of patients are required to define the role of RT in the management of this disorder.

Heyd R, Dorn AP, Herkströter M, Rödel C, Müller-Schimpfle M & Fraunholz I.

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