Background: In our department we have developed a standardized applicator for HDR brachytherapy of surface lesions, the so called Leipzig-applicator. We have used this method since September 1987, initially with a Decatron remote afterloading machine, but more recently from November 1990 with a microSelectron-HDR. We report about our experience of 10 years.
Patients and method: Since 1987 we treated 520 patients in 3,026 fractions with this method. In most of the cases we irradiated tumors of the skin of the face, but we also treated tumors of the mouth, of the tongue, of the perianal region and the external genitalia. The histological types were in most of the cases squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas, but we also treated tumors like Kaposi-sarcomas, melanomas and skin manifestations of lymphomas and solid organ tumors. We also irradiated benign lesions like keloids after excision. We use single doses between 5 and 10 Gy once to twice a week. The isodose distribution was depending of the tissue infiltration of the tumor. The total dose was 30 to 40 Gy.
Results: In 91% of the cases we obtained a complete remission of the tumor, in 6% a partial remission. Recurrences appeared in 8% of the patients. In most cases the reason of the recurrence was a lower brachytherapy dose because of a prior radiotherapy. We didn't observe any severe late radiation reaction.
Conclusion: We consider that our series of patients treated with HDR brachytherapy and a range of standardized applicators demonstrates that this is a successful method of treating surface lesions.