Purpose: Because of previous reports of increased rate of recurrence and mortality after radiation therapy, eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma has been considered radioresistent. Recent reports of success with primary radiation therapy have been attributed to advancements in irradiating technology and technique. Two cases of eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma successfully treated with radiation therapy are reported. The techniques used are compared with the techniques described in previous reports, and factors favoring successful treatment are reevaluated. Methods: Case series and review of the literature. Two cases of eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma that underwent radiation therapy are described. Both patients were offered, but refused, surgical excision. One patient received 69 Gy combined superficial and megavoltage x-ray irradiation to the left lower eyelid. The second patient received 59 Gy megavoltage electron beam irradiation to the right upper eyelid. A review of the literature was performed, and Fisher's exact test analysis was used to compare the results of all reported cases treated with ≤55 Gy with those treated with >55 Gy. Results: In both cases, the tumor responded to radiation therapy. One patient died 39 months after treatment, of myocardial infarction. The second patient is without clinical evidence of tumor recurrence 46 months after treatment. Fisher's exact test showed an advantage to patients treated with >55 Gy radiation (p = 0.05). Conclusion: Radiation therapy with an appropriate delivery system is effective as a curative treatment for eyelid sebaceous cell carcinoma when >55 Gy of radiation dose is delivered. It should be considered for patients seeking an alternative to surgical excision.
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