Radiotherapy for prevention or management of gynecomastia recurrence: Future role for general gynecomastia patients in plastic surgery given current role in management of high-risk prostate cancer patients on anti-androgenic therapy

Published:April 19, 2021DOI:



      Several technologies and innovative approaches continue to emerge for the optimal management of gynecomastia by plastic surgeons; the present study investigates the role of radiation therapy in this context.


      A systematic review was performed to evaluate the utility of radiotherapy for the prevention and treatment of gynecomastia incidence or recurrence by plastic surgeons.


      Fifteen articles met the inclusion criteria for review. The mean incidence of gynecomastia was 70% in the high-risk population examined representing prostate cancer patients on estrogen or anti-androgen therapy. Radiotherapy was shown to significantly reduce the incidence to a median of 23%, with all six randomized control studies assessed demonstrating a statistically significant decrease in incidence following radiotherapy prophylaxis. Doses examined ranged from 8 to 16 Gy, delivered between 1 and 11 fractions. Complications following radiotherapy were minor and self-limiting in all cases, restricted to minor skin reactions, and associated with larger radiotherapy doses delivered in fewer fractions. The median complication rate was 12.4% with no major complications, such as neoplastic, pulmonary, or adverse cardiac outcomes. While the efficacy of radiation therapy as a treatment modality for gynecomastia was also established, it was shown to be less effective than other available options.


      Low-dose radiotherapy to the male breast might be a safe and effective strategy to prevent gynecomastia incidence or recurrence in high-risk patients; further studies are indicated within the common gynecomastia population managed by plastic surgeons to assess the clinical and economical utility of this intervention before a recommendation for its ubiquitous adoption in plastic surgery can be made to continue improving outcomes for high-risk gynecomastia patients.


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