What is the role of radiation therapy for the treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC)?

Updated: Jul 08, 2020
  • Author: Talib Najjar, DMD, MDS, PhD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Radiation therapy as primary treatment for cSCC is typically reserved for patients who are unable to undergo surgical excision. More frequently, radiation therapy is used as an adjuvant to surgery for improved locoregional control. Postoperative radiotherapy is considered for tumors that exhibit perineural invasion or other high-risk features and for those that involve regional metastasis. [47]

No comparative studies of surgery versus surgery plus adjuvant radiotherapy for high-risk SCC have been performed. With no clear evidence of benefit and the potential of significant morbidity, clinical judgment is required in deciding which patients should receive adjuvant radiation. One systematic review suggests that adjuvant radiation be considered in patients with uncertain or positive surgical margins or advanced nerve involvement. [48]


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