Surgery remains the mainstay of melanoma therapy at all sites. Melanoma is widely believed to be a radioresistant tumor, a misconception that has historically led to the limited use of RT for its treatment. We searched pubmed from 1978 until 2010 by means of prospective randomized trials. The aim was to assess the potential impact of radiotherapy (RT) on local control, quality of life and overall survival. Radiotherapy should be considered in lentigo maligna, especially in elderly patients with extensive or unresectable disease in difficult areas on the face, with adequate tumor control with good cosmetic and functional results. In addition, radiation therapy provides effective palliation in patients with metastatic malignant melanoma. Doses up to 30 Gy or BED > 39.0Gy were found to be associated with prolonged palliation. These findings should be viewed with caution because the lack of data regarding performance status as well as other unknown confounding factors limits the applicability of retrospectives studies. We recommend that higher doses of RT be considered when using RT for the palliation of patients with metastatic melanoma and a performance status that could tolerate such therapy. In the futute, the combination of radiation therapy with hyperthermia may be a reasonable therapeutic option.