H&N and Skin (HNS) GEC-ESTRO Working Group critical review of recommendations regarding prescription depth, bolus thickness and maximum dose in skin superficial brachytherapy with flaps and customized moulds


      • Guidelines on skin superficial BT do not fully reflect the clinical practice of large tumors.
      • No dosimetry parameters-PROM relationships are found in skin cancer superficial BT.
      • Publications using constraints beyond recommendations meet excellent results.


      The aim of this publication is the assessment of the existing guidelines for non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) superficial brachytherapy (BT) and make a critical review based on the existing literature about the maximum dose prescription depth, bolus thickness and maximum skin surface dose (Dmax) of the published clinical practice.
      A systematic review of NMSC superficial BT published articles was carried out by the GEC-ESTRO Head & Neck and Skin (HNS) Working Group (WG). 10 members and 2 external reviewers compared the published clinical procedures with the recommendations in the current guidelines and examined the grade of evidence. Our review verified that there is a large variation among centres with regards to clinical practice in superficial BT and identified studies where published parameters such as maximum dose prescription depth, bolus thickness and Dmax exceed the constraints recommended in the guidelines, while showing excellent results in terms of local control, toxicity and cosmesis.
      This review confirmed that current recommendations on skin superficial BT do not include published experience on tumours treated with superficial BT that require dose prescription depth beyond the recommended 5 mm under the skin surface and that the existing literature does not provide sufficient evidence to relate dosimetry of superficial BT to patient reported outcome measures.
      The GEC-ESTRO HNS WG considers acceptable to prescribe superficial BT dose at a depth above 5 mm beyond the skin surface, and modify the bolus thickness to optimize the treatment plan and adjust the acceptable maximum dose on the skin surface, all pending clinical situation.


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