The use of brachytherapy in the treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer: a review

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Aug;65(2):377-388. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2010.03.027. Epub 2011 Apr 15.


Nonmelanoma skin cancers can be treated by various modalities, including electrodessication and curettage, excisional techniques, and radiation. In selected cases, radiation may be preferable to surgery. When radiation is an option, brachytherapy, a form of radiation therapy that places the radiation source close to the area to be treated, may have advantages relative to conventional external beam radiation in particular patients. After brachytherapy, recurrence rates for nonmelanoma skin cancers are low, especially for small, superficial lesions, with good to excellent functional and cosmetic results. This article reviews the indications, efficacy, and adverse effects of brachytherapy in the treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy / adverse effects
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome