Brachytherapy in the adjuvant management of keloid scars: literature review

Ioannis Goutos, Rei Ogawa
Scars, Burns & Healing 2017, 3: 2059513117735483

<AbstractText Label="Introduction" NlmCategory="UNASSIGNED">Radiation therapy is a well-recognised modality for the adjuvant treatment of keloid scars. It can be conventionally delivered as external beam using a large apparatus at a distance from the lesion or as brachytherapy with specialised equipment to enable the delivery of treatment in the immediate vicinity of the keloidal tissue.

Methods: An English literature review was performed with keywords 'brachytherapy' and 'keloid' using the databases PubMed, Embase and Web of Science from their individual dates of inception until June 2017. Studies pertinent to the field are presented in a chronological manner to depict the evolution of different brachytherapy strategies over the last decades. We also discuss considerations relating to the risk of secondary carcinogenesis, which are relevant to shared decision-making in the clinical setting.

Discussion: Low dose rate interstitial brachytherapy was first introduced in the English literature in 1976 and currently appears to have been superseded by more modern approaches, including high dose rate interstitial brachytherapy. This modality compares favourably to more traditional modes of radiotherapy in terms of recurrence as well as rates of symptomatic relief from keloidal symptoms. Superficial brachytherapy was introduced more recently in the relevant literature and appears to be associated with favourable therapeutic outcomes compared to external beam radiation therapy.

Conclusion: Brachytherapy is a valid modality of radiotherapy for the adjuvant treatment of keloid scars, with high dose rate interstitial and surface regimens gaining in popularity over recent years. Further research needs to focus on randomised controlled trials to further establish the role of different radiotherapy modalities in keloid scar management.

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