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Dermatologic radiotherapy in the treatment of extensive basal cell carcinomas: a retrospective study.

BACKGROUND: The increase of the number of new cases for year of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) has brought also an increase of BCC difficult to treat (extensive, locally advanced and high risk forms).

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate retrospectively the results obtained with dermatologic radiotherapy (RT) for better defining the indications respect to new emerging treatments.

METHODS: A series of extensive 115 BCC treated with RT from 1977 to 2014 were selected for the study, since endowed with histological diagnosis on the amount of 181 extensive BCC. RT was performed with conventional energies (50-160 kV) administering a total dose ranging from 47 to 85 Gy (median 55 Gy). The mean follow up was 40.66 months (median 21 months). A statistical evaluation was performed with chi-square test to analyse the possible correlations among therapeutic and cosmetic results and size, localisation and clinical type of the lesions.

RESULTS: A complete remission (CR) was obtained in 70.43%, a partial remission (PR) in 20% of the lesions treated, while in 9.56% a no response (NR) or not evaluable response (NER) was registered. In 19% of the lesions a relapse was observed, with a five-year cure-rate of 55.13%. Cosmetic results were good in 28%, acceptable in 50% and not acceptable in 22% of the lesions in CR. In six lesions, localised at the trunk region, a chronic radiodermatitis developed. A statistically significative correlation was observed between therapeutic results and size, between cosmetic results and size and between therapeutic results and clinical type of BCC.

CONCLUSION: The treatment of extensive BCC is still a challenge and radiotherapy is one of the possible choices, preferred in the elderly, in relapsing cases, after incomplete excision, and in difficult localisations of the face. Radiotherapy might be included in sequential schedules of treatment to improve final results.

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