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This is the final published version of the article from Advances in Radiation Oncology, Volume 6, Issue 2, March–April 2021, 100616

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Purpose Basal cell and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma are common malignancies (keratinocyte carcinomas [KCs]). Surgical resection is the standard of care. Radiation using high-dose rate brachytherapy (HDR-BT) may serve as a superior alternative where surgical scars may be of cosmetic concern or in elderly patients with significant comorbidity. We aim to describe the clinical and cosmetic outcomes as well as posttreatment radiation toxicities associated with HDR-BT in patients who were treated for KCs of the face.

Methods and Materials Patients with KCs treated with HDR-BT from 2015 to 2018 were included in the study. Patient medical records and clinical photos were reviewed at multiple time points: start of treatment, end of treatment, short-term (2 week) follow-up, 3-month follow-up, and if needed at 6 months. Radiation toxicity was graded using the Radiation Therapy Oncology Grading (RTOG) acute toxicity scale. Median (range) toxicity grades at follow-up intervals were calculated. Clinical outcomes including local recurrence were evaluated for all patients.

Results The study included 19 patients and 20 KCs. The median radiation dose was 42 Gy (39-42 Gy) over 6 fractions. The median toxicity at completion of treatment was RTOG grade 2 (85% of patients). At short-term follow-up, 50% of patients (n = 10) improved to RTOG grade 1 (0-2). At 3 months, 70% of patients (n = 14) had RTOG grade 0, and by 6 months, 100% of patients (n = 18) had RTOG grade 0. No RTOG grade 3 or higher skin toxicity was observed. With a median follow-up of 7.2 months (range, 1.3-54.4 months), the local recurrence-free survival was 95%.

Conclusions We demonstrate that HDR-BT can be used as definitive treatment of KCs of the face with excellent cosmetic outcomes and local control. Acute and subacute skin toxicities were most commonly RTOG grade 2 or less with resolution of patient’s skin toxicity by 3 months.

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