The American Brachytherapy Society consensus statement for electronic brachytherapy

Brachytherapy. 2019 May-Jun;18(3):292-298. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2018.10.006. Epub 2018 Nov 26.


Purpose: Brachytherapy is utilized in the treatment of many different malignancies; although traditionally performed with low-dose-rate or high-dose-rate techniques, more recently, electronic brachytherapy (EB) has emerged as a potential alternative. At this time, there are no evidence-based guidelines to assist clinicians in patient selection for EB and concerns exits regarding differences in dosimetry as compared to traditional brachytherapy techniques. As such, the American Brachytherapy Society appointed a group of physicians and physicists to create a consensus statement regarding the use of EB.

Methods and materials: Physicians and physicists with expertise in brachytherapy created a site-directed consensus statement for appropriate patient selection and utilization of EB based on a literature search and clinical experience.

Results: EB has been utilized to deliver accelerated partial breast irradiation with, thus far acceptable local control and toxicity rates including a randomized trial that used EB to deliver intraoperative radiotherapy; however, prospective data with large patient numbers and long-term follow up are needed. Increasing numbers of patients have been treated with EB for nonmelanomatous skin cancers; although, preliminary data are promising, there is a lack of data comparing EB to traditional radiotherapy techniques as well as a lack of long-term follow up. For treatment of the vaginal cuff with EB, small retrospective studies have been reported without long-term follow up.

Conclusions: In light of a randomized trial in breast showing higher rates of recurrence and the lack of prospective data with mature follow up with other sites, as well as concerns regarding dosimetry, it is not recommended that EB be utilized for accelerated partial breast irradiation, nonmelanomatous skin cancers, or vaginal cuff brachytherapy outside prospective clinical trials at this time.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Cervical cancer; Electronic brachytherapy; Endometrial cancer; Radiation therapy; Skin cancer.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy / adverse effects
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Consensus
  • Electronics
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Skin Neoplasms / radiotherapy*