Radiation therapy toxicity to the skin

Dermatol Clin. 2008 Jan;26(1):161-72, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2007.08.005.


Radiation therapy has been integral to cancer patient care. The skin is an intentional and unintentional target of therapy, and is sensitive to the volume of normal tissue in the radiation therapy treatment field, daily treatment dose (fractionation), and total treatment dose. We must understand the relationship of these factors to patient outcome as we move toward hypofractionation treatment strategies (radiosurgery). Chemotherapy agents and prescription medications may influence therapy-associated sequelae. Understanding this may prevent significant injury and discomfort. This article reviews established platforms of radiation therapy and sequelae associated with skin therapy. Interactions with other agents and possible predisposition to sequelae are reviewed. Skin cancer resulting from treatment and disease processes associated with possible limited outcome are also reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Care
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary


  • Antineoplastic Agents