The present study aimed to evaluate the role of adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) following nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive breast cancer, based on the published literature. Currently, there is no standard for RT following NSM. NSM aims to spare the nipple areola complex (NAC) without compromising locoregional control. Long‑term follow‑up studies have begun to show promising results. A search of the English literature was performed using the Medline database and Cochrane central library, with the keywords ‘nipple/areola‑sparing mastectomy’, ‘whole skin mastectomy’ and ‘NAC preservation’. A total of 32 original studies with data on NSM in terms of locoregional control, NAC control, NAC necrosis and adjuvant RT were identified. The median locoregional and NAC recurrence rates were 3.2 and 1.4% (range, 0‑28.4% and 0‑3.7%), respectively. The volume of remaining breast tissue following NSM was reported inconsistently. In 15 studies, RT was not mentioned. In the remaining 17 studies, RT was administered in 0‑100% of patients. Only 7 studies provided detailed information regarding the use of adjuvant RT. Adjuvant thoracic wall irradiation was not used in certain studies, not even for locoregionally advanced tumors. Overall, NSM appears a feasible treatment without increased risk of locoregional recurrence for selected patients. The role of adjuvant RT following NSM requires further clarification. The decision regarding adjuvant RT must be made in interdisciplinary tumor boards and with consideration of the individual situation of the patient.