, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 350-355
Date: 15 Feb 2012

A Dermatitis Control Program (DeCoP) for head and neck cancer patients receiving radiotherapy: a prospective phase II study

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Abstract

Purpose

We speculated that a systematic program to manage radiation dermatitis might decrease the incidence of severe or fatal cases in head and neck cancer patients receiving radiotherapy. Here, we conducted a prospective phase II study to clarify the clinical benefit of a Dermatitis Control Program (DeCoP) that did not use corticosteroids.

Patients and methods

Head and neck cancer patients scheduled to receive definitive or postoperative radiotherapy were enrolled. Radiation dermatitis was managed with a DeCoP consisting of a three-step ladder: Step 1, gentle washing; Step 2, gentle washing and moistening of the wound-healing environment; Step 3, prevention against infection, gentle washing and moistening of the wound-healing environment. The primary endpoint was the incidence of grade 4 dermatitis.

Results

A total of 113 patients were registered between January 2009 and February 2010. Eighty patients received radiotherapy as an initial approach, while the remaining 33 received radiotherapy postoperatively. Grade 3 and 4 dermatitis events occurred in 11 (9.7%) and 0 (0%, 95% confidence interval 0–3.2%) patients, respectively. Median radiation dose at the onset of grade 2 dermatitis was 61.5 Gy (range 36–70 Gy) and median period between onset and recovery was 14 days (range 1–46 days).

Conclusion

The Dermatitis Control Program has promising clinical potential. Radiation dermatitis might be manageable if gentle washing and moistening of the wound-healing environment is done.