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It is important to recognize the difference between isotope-based, surface-mold brachytherapy used in treating cases of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and electronic surface brachytherapy (EBT), which shares the same initials as electron beam therapy. Electron beam therapy uses electrons and a linear accelerator, whereas surface-mold brachytherapy (used in this series1) involves radioactive isotopes. Both electron beam therapy and isotope-based surface-mold brachytherapy have been used to successfully treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Electronic surface brachytherapy uses miniature radiographic tubes without isotopes or linear accelerators and is designed for small tumors, such as basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas. Electronic surface brachytherapy devices are deployed in offices without the involvement of board-certified radiation oncologists and medical physicists, whereas isotope-based brachytherapy is based on a custom computed tomography–guided treatment planning system that provides precise and reliable dosing. A limited set of doses is available for electronic surface brachytherapy of common, small tumors; however, the treatment modality is not customizable beyond these preset doses. Electronic surface brachytherapy is also an inherently nonhomogeneous form of radiotherapy, with limited capability to deliver uniform doses over complex surfaces, such as the topography of hands and feet.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Robinson JK. Difference in the Use of Terms: Isotope-Based, Surface-Mold Brachytherapy vs Electronic Surface Brachytherapy. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(12):1358. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.3027