• eyelid cancer;
  • squamous cell carcinoma;
  • radiation therapy;
  • skin cancer;
  • postoperative radiotherapy



Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the eyelid is a rare malignancy with metastatic potential. In the current study, the outcomes of patients with SCC of the eyelid were evaluated after definitive and postoperative radiation therapy.


The medical records of all patients treated with radiotherapy for SCC of the eyelid at 1 institution between 1950 and 2005 were reviewed. Patient records were analyzed for clinical characteristics, pathologic features, radiation techniques, and outcomes. Survival rates were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method; factors affecting survival were assessed using the log-rank test.


During the study period, 39 patients with 42 eyelid SCCs were treated with radiotherapy. Thirty-two tumors were treated with primary radiotherapy and 10 were treated with postoperative radiotherapy after wide local excision. Surviving patients were followed for a median of 76 months. The 5-year disease-specific and overall survival rates for all patients were 86% and 71%, respectively. At 5 years, local, regional, and distant disease control rates for all tumors were 88%, 95%, and 97%, respectively. There were no significant differences in the 5-year local, regional, and distant control rates between tumors treated with definitive and those treated with postoperative radiotherapy. There were no grade 3 or 4 complications.


Primary radiotherapy for SCC of the eyelid provides excellent locoregional control with reasonable complication rates and should be considered an alternative to surgery in selected patients. Cancer 2008. © 2007 American Cancer Society.