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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 Nov 15;66(4):1051-5. Epub 2006 Sep 12.

Adjuvant radiotherapy for cutaneous melanoma: comparing hypofractionation to conventional fractionation.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.



To examine locoregional control after adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) for cutaneous melanoma and compare outcomes between conventional fractionation and hypofractionation.


Between January 1980 and June 2004, 56 patients with high-risk disease were treated with adjuvant RT. Indications for RT included: recurrent disease, cervical lymph node involvement, lymph nodes >3 cm, more than three lymph nodes involved, extracapsular extension, gross residual disease, close or positive margins, or satellitosis. Hypofractionation was used in 41 patients (73%) and conventional fractionation was used in 15 patients (27%).


The median age was 61 years (21->90). The median follow-up among living patients was 4.4 years (range, 0.6-14.4 years). The primary site was located in the head and neck in 49 patients (87%) and below the clavicles in 7 patients (13%). There were 7 in-field locoregional failures (12%), 3 out-of-field regional failures (5%), and 24 (43%) distant failures. The 5-year in-field locoregional control (ifLRC) and freedom from distant metastases (FFDM) rates were 87% and 43%, respectively. The 5-year cause-specific (CSS) and overall survival (OS) was 57% and 46%, respectively. The only factor associated with ifLRC was satellitosis (p = 0.0002). Nodal involvement was the only factor associated with FFDM (p = 0.0007), CSS (p = 0.0065), and OS (p = 0.016). Two patients (4%) who experienced severe late complications, osteoradionecrosis of the temporal bone and radiation plexopathy, and both received hypofractionation (5%).


Although surgery and adjuvant RT provides excellent locoregional control, distant metastases remain the major cause of mortality. Hypofractionation and conventional fractionation are equally efficacious.

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