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Abstract

Background

The morphea-type basal cell carcinoma (MBCC) is a rare form of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) with lower response to treatments than other types of BCC.

Objective

To evaluate the role of radiotherapy (RT) in the therapeutic strategy of MBCC.

Methods

A retrospective study was performed on 127 patients affected with MBCC, who underwent RT in the period 1982–2013. RT was delivered with conventional energies ranging from 50 to 120 kV and the administration of a total dose ranging from 40 to 70 Gy (mean 56.17 Gy). The irradiated fields included a margin of 1.5 cm around the lesion.

Results

The median follow-up time was 29 months (range 1–324 months). Complete remission was observed in 122 patients (96.06%), partial remission in one (0.78%). Three cases were non-responsive (2.36%). In one case (0.78%), the lesion failed to heal after RT, since the onset of radiodermatitis histologically ascertained. The cure rate was 81.08% after 5 years and 78.02% after 10 years from the end of RT. Twelve cases relapsed (10.2%).

Conclusion

Because of the frequent diagnostic delay and its ill-defined margins, MBCC is difficult to cure. Our results after 5 years from RT (cure rate 81.08%) are more satisfactory respect to the others reported in the literature (69% and 72.3%), but less good than those obtained in other forms of primary malignant neoplasms of the skin (92.43%). Nevertheless, we consider that RT plays an important role in the therapeutic strategy of MBCCs. In fact, it can be applied easily in elderly patients, and in peculiar localization of the disease (eyelid, nose and ear), without being invasive.