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Brooke–Spiegler syndrome: radiotherapy as the last resort?

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To describe the case of successful radiotherapeutic treatment of a woman suffering from Brooke–Spiegler syndrome who had multiple disfiguring cylindromas on the entire scalp and further tumors on the trunk.


After decades of treatment with conventional therapies including surgery and topically applied salicylic acid, the 73-year-old woman agreed to undergo radiotherapeutic treatment. She received 60 Gy to the scalp and 36 Gy to painful nodules in the lumbar spine region.


Over a follow-up period of 14 and 11 years, respectively, the scalp nodules almost completely regressed, while the lumbar nodules became painless and considerably smaller. Apart from alopecia, no late adverse effects of treatment remain.


This case should remind us of the potential role that radiotherapy could play in treating Brooke–Spiegler syndrome. The required dose for treatment of such extensive disease is still a matter of debate due to the scarcity of radiotherapeutic experience. This case demonstrates that for scalp tumors, 30 × 2 Gy can result in long-term tumor control, while other dose prescriptions may be adequate for tumors in other locations.

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Correspondence to Rainer J. Klement PhD.

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Conflict of interest

R.A. Sweeney and R.J. Klement have received travel/accommodation fees for consultant meetings/conferences from Elekta. M. Goebeler and M. Flentje declare that they have no competing interests.

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Sweeney, R.A., Goebeler, M., Flentje, M. et al. Brooke–Spiegler syndrome: radiotherapy as the last resort?. Strahlenther Onkol 199, 595–600 (2023).

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