Between 1960 and 1984, 20 selected patients with Paget's disease of the breast confined to the nipple were treated conservatively with radiotherapy alone (17/20 pts) or limited surgery and radiotherapy (3/20 pts). Median follow-up was 7.5 years. No patients died of breast disease. Three patients had recurrence in the treated breast, and were treated by mastectomy. All recurrences were located in the nipple or areola and were all Paget's disease, without associated intraductal or invasive carcinoma. No axillary node recurrences occurred. The actuarial 7-year probability of living free of disease with breast preserved was 81%. Among the 15 patients who had a minimum follow-up of 3 years, without recurrence, 12 (80%) had a good cosmetic result. These results suggest that radiation therapy could be an effective alternative to radical surgery in the treatment of patients with Paget's disease of the nipple without concomitant breast tumor.