Vol 26, No 1 (2021)
Research paper
Published online: 2021-01-22

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A small case series about safety and effectiveness of a hypofractionated electron beam radiotherapy schedule in five fractions for facial non melanoma skin cancer among frail and elderly patients

Gianluca Ferini1, Laura Molino2, Laura Bottalico3, Paolino De Lucia3, Francesco Garofalo3
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2021;26(1):66-72.


Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate local control and toxicities of strongly hypofractionated electron beam radiotherapy (RT) in elderly and fragile patients with facial nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC).

Materials and methods: We enrolled patients aged ≥ 65 years with facial NMSC, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) ≥ 40 and life expectancy ≥ 6 months, amenable neither to daily RT nor surgery. Radiotherapy consisted of 35 Gy, delivered with 6 MeV electron beam, in 5 fractions of 7 Gy/day twice a week (tw). Prescription isodoses were 100% for cT1–cT2 and 90% for cT3–cT4. Objective response was assessed clinically 4 and 8 weeks after the end of RT and then monitored every 6 months. Side effects were assessed according to the CTCAE scale.

Results: 12 patients of median age 89.5 years with a total of 23 NMSC cN0 achieved a median follow-up time of 6 months (range 1–10), with total treatment compliance. 10/12 patients had a 40 ≤ KPS < 70 and 2/12 a 70 ≤ KPS < 90. 5/12 patients had synchronous lesions. 22/23 lesions were classified as T1–T2 and had complete response (CR), 1/23 as T4 with partial response (PR). Within 4 weeks after the end of treatment, G1 toxicity was reported for 12/23 lesions , G2 for 8/23, G3 for 3/23, G4 for 0/23, all disappeared 8 weeks later, with or without topical therapy. After last follow-up (1 June 2020) 1/12 patients died with PR from senile marasmus, 11/12 are alive with CR and widely tolerated toxicities.

Conclusions: Extreme hypofractionation of radiotherapy dose for facial NMSC is effective, safe and suitable for elderly patients. 

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