The incidence and morbidity of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is increasing globally each year. 1,2 Factors such as sun exposure and improved disease awareness may be some of the causes to a higher rate of skin cancer.1,3
Non-melanoma skin cancer has a low rate of mortality. If it is diagnosed early, it can be easily treated. The most common treatment option involves surgical removal of the lesions. However, surgery has some drawbacks, including suboptimal aesthetic outcomes, complex reconstructions or loss of function. Especially when it comes to lesions on the face, scarring and disfigurement can be a significant concern to patients being treated for NMSC 4,5.
The Rhenium-SCT (Skin Cancer Therapy) is a non-invasive option that targets NMSC lesions using the radionuclide rhenium-188 in a painless way and could help reduce those concerns.
The single painless session with Rhenium-SCT has similar success rates to surgery. Rhenium-SCT has shown a complete remission rate of 98,5% in several studies and does not involve multiple visits to hospital as radiotherapy or surgery.
The Rhenium-SCT has been available at the Policlinico Sant'Orsola-Malpighi in Bologna since 2017, with more than 100 patients treated to date. Today, Dr Baraldi, dermatologist in Bologna, answers some of the most frequently asked questions by physicians:
What is the most common way of treating skin cancer?
Presently the treatment of choice for skin cancer is surgery
How is this treatment option different to other methods?
With the Rhenium-SCT, the radioactivity acts only in the area applied over the lesion, without damaging the healthy tissue. In addition, it is ideal for tumors located in parts of the body with a complicated geometry or when the skin surface is not flat, for example on the face.
What benefits can the treatment potentially have for patients?
This is a single-session painless technique, that can provide better aesthetic results compared to surgery, it is also an ambulant treatment and no overnight stay is necessary
Who is this treatment best suited for?
The epidermal radioisotope therapy with 188Re is ideal for patients where surgery or standard radiotherapy approaches would be suboptimal with regard to the location or the extent of the lesion; patients that are not eligible for surgery considering their general health condition and comorbidities; and patients who refuse surgery.
- Lomas, Leonardi-Bee, Bath-Hextall. Br J Dematol. 2012;166:1069–1080.
- Diepgen TL & Mahler VM. Br J Dermatol. 2002;146 (Suppl 61):1–6.
- Madan V, Lear JT, Szeimies R-M. Lancet. 2010;375:673–685.
- Lee EH, et al. Australas J Dermatol. 2016;57(3):e100–e104.
- Burdon-Jones D, Thomas P, Baker R. Br J Dermatol. 2010;162:147–151.