Superficial radiotherapy for non-melanoma skin cancer of the lip: a 44-year Italian experience

Roberta Piccinno, Simona Tavecchio, Valentina Benzecry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Radiotherapy is a valuable therapeutic option for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in the ageing population, in non-surgical candidates, or when the tumor is extensive or localized in a cosmetically sensitive area such as the lips. Objective: We report our 44-year experience in treating basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the vermilion lip using superficial radiotherapy. Methods: Forty-seven patients with biopsy-proven BCC or SCC of the lip were retrospectively reviewed. All patients had been treated with superficial radiotherapy in our unit, as a primary treatment or with adjuvant and salvage purposes. Lymph-node involvement at presentation was negative in all patients. Results: Local disease control was achieved in 91% of cases. Cure rates of 85% were obtained at 5 and 10 years. Four patients presented local tumor recurrence and only one patient developed lymphatic involvement. Cosmetic outcome was good in the majority of cases, and all patients, except for one, fully preserved the vermilion lip functionality. Conclusions: Our findings confirm that superficial radiotherapy is an effective treatment for early BCC or SCC of the vermilion lip, especially in the ageing population, in high-risk tumors, and even if poor cosmetic outcome is expected from surgical excision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-386
JournalJournal of Dermatological Treatment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • basal cell carcinoma
  • Lip
  • radiotherapy
  • squamous cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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