Radiotherapy of basal cell carcinoma of the face and head: Importance of low dose per fraction on long-term outcome

February 1, 2006


Radiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of basal cell carcinoma of the face and head and achieves cure rates of 92-96 %. Different fractionation concepts of radiotherapy have been described. This study investigates the efficacy, as well as acute and chronic toxicity, of a slightly hypo-fractionated radiotherapy schedule.


85 patients with 104 tumors underwent radiotherapy for basal cell carcinoma of the face and head. The radiotherapy schedule was 5 x 3 Gray/week up to a total dose of 57 Gray in 95 % of patients. Acute and late radiotherapy toxicity and cosmetic outcome were evaluated in long-term follow-up.


No recurrence was observed. In 87 % of tumors, only low acute toxicity occurred at the end of radiotherapy. Late toxicity, if observed, was low in most patients. “Excellent” or “good” cosmesis was achieved in 94 % of tumors at last follow-up.


Our radiotherapy schedule achieves a very high local control rate and very good cosmetic and functional results. This fractionation can be recommended as a standardized radiotherapy treatment for basal cell carcinoma of the face and head.

Olschewski T, Bajor K, Lang B, Lang E & Seegenschmiedt MH.

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