Radiation Therapy for Primary Eyelid Cancers in Tunisia

  • Belaid, A (Radiation oncology department, Salah Azaiez Institute) ;
  • Nasr, C (Radiation oncology department, Salah Azaiez Institute) ;
  • Benna, M (Radiation oncology department, Salah Azaiez Institute) ;
  • Cherif, A (Radiation oncology department, Salah Azaiez Institute) ;
  • Jmour, O (Radiation oncology department, Salah Azaiez Institute) ;
  • Bouguila, H (Ophtalmology department A, Hedi Raies Institute) ;
  • Benna, F (Radiation oncology department, Salah Azaiez Institute)
  • Published : 2016.07.01


Management of eyelid cancers is based on surgery and/or radiotherapy (RT). The treatment objective is to control tumors with acceptable functional and esthetic outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the results of radiation therapy in management of epithelial eyelid cancers, reviewing retrospectively the clinical records of patients treated in our institution from January 1989 to December 2013. We focused on clinical and histological features, treatment characteristics, tolerance and disease control. One hundred and eight patients (62 men and 46 women) were enrolled, with a mean age of 61 years [ranges 15-87]. The most frequent tumor location was the inner canthus (42.6%). Median tumor size was 21 mm [ranges 4-70]. Histological type was basal cell carcinoma in 88 cases (81.5%), squamous cell carcinoma in 16 (14.8%) and sebaceous carcinoma in 4 (3.7%). Radiation therapy was exclusive in 67 cases (62%) and post-operative for positive or close margins in the remaining cases. Kilovoltage external beam radiotherapy (KVRT) was used in 63 patients (58.3%) and low-dose-rate interstitial brachytherapy in 37 (34.3%). Eight (7.4%) were treated with cobalt or with a combination of KVRT-cobalt, KVRT-electron beams, KVRT-brachytherapy or cobalt-electron beams. The total delivered radiation doses were 70 Gy (2 Gy/fraction) in 62 patients (57.4%), 66 Gy (2 Gy/fraction) in 37 (34.3%) and 61.2 Gy (3.4Gy/fraction) in 9 (8.3%). After a median follow-up of 64 months, we noted 10 cases of local recurrences(9.2%): 7 after exclusive and 3 after post-operative RT. No local recurrence occurred in patients treated with brachytherapy. Actuarial 5-year local recurrence-free rate, disease-free survival and overall survival were respectively 90%, 90% and 97%. T-stage was found to be a significant factor for recurrence (p=0.047). All acute radiation-related reactions were scored grade I or II. Delayed effects were eye watering in 24 cases (22.2%), eye dryness in 19 (17.6%), unilateral cataract in 7 (6.4%) and ectropion in 4 (3.7%). Radiation therapy and especially brachytherapy is an efficient treatment of eyelid cancers, allowing eye conservation and functional preservation with good local control rates and acceptable toxicity.


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