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Definitive and Postoperative Radiation Therapy for Basal and Squamous Cell Cancers of the Skin: Executive Summary of an American Society for Radiation Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline. Pract Radiat Oncol 2020 Jan - Feb;10(1):8-20



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85076676303   44 Citations


PURPOSE: This guideline reviews the evidence for the use of definitive and postoperative radiation therapy (RT) in patients with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC).

METHODS: The American Society for Radiation Oncology convened a task force to address 5 key questions focused on indications for RT in the definitive and postoperative setting for BCC and cSCC, as well as dose-fractionation schemes, target volumes, basic aspects of treatment planning, choice of radiation modality, and the role of systemic therapy in combination with radiation. Recommendations were based on a systematic literature review and created using a predefined consensus-building methodology and system for grading evidence quality and recommendation strength.

RESULTS: The guideline recommends definitive RT as primary treatment for patients with BCC and cSCC who are not surgical candidates while conditionally recommending RT with an emphasis on shared decision-making in those situations in which adequate resection can lead to a less than satisfactory cosmetic or functional outcome. In the postoperative setting, a number of indications for RT after an adequate resection are provided while distinguishing the strength of the recommendations between BCC and cSCC. One key question is dedicated to defining indications for regional nodal irradiation. The task force suggests a range of appropriate dose-fractionation schemes for treatment of primary and nodal volumes in definitive and postoperative scenarios. The guideline also recommends against the use of carboplatin concurrently with adjuvant RT and conditionally recommends the use of systemic therapies for unresectable primaries where treatment may need escalation.

CONCLUSIONS: Defining the role of RT in the management of BCC and cSCC has been hindered by a lack of high-quality evidence. This document synthesizes available evidence to define practice guidelines for the most common clinical situations. We encourage practitioners to enroll patients in prospective trials and to approach care in a multidisciplinary fashion whenever possible.

Author List

Likhacheva A, Awan M, Barker CA, Bhatnagar A, Bradfield L, Brady MS, Buzurovic I, Geiger JL, Parvathaneni U, Zaky S, Devlin PM


Musaddiq J. Awan MD Assistant Professor in the Radiation Oncology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Carcinoma, Basal Cell
Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
Evidence-Based Medicine
Patient Selection
Radiation Oncology
Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
Skin Neoplasms
Societies, Medical
United States