, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 43-48
Date: 30 Jan 2010

Prophylaxis with a cream containing urea reduces the incidence and severity of radio-induced dermatitis

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Abstract

Introduction

Radio-induced dermatitis is one of the most frequent side effects of radiotherapy. Among the commercially available products for the care of irradiated skin is a hydrating lotion containing 3% urea, polidocanol and hyaluronic acid. Its effectiveness for preventing the appearance of radiodermatitis or reducing its severity has been studied on a number of occasions.

Objective

To evaluate the effectiveness of “intensive use” of the lotion containing 3% urea, polidocanol and hyaluronic acid for preventing the appearance of acute radiodermatitis and controlling its severity.

Material and methods

Prospective observational study in 98 patients with breast cancer with a 10-week follow-up period. Skin toxicity (RTOG/EORTC scale) was evaluated weekly. To study the effectiveness we compared incidence and grade of toxicity with a sample of 174 breast cancer patients (control sample) treated in our centre during 2006 who used skin-support measures at the start of the radiotherapy or the occurrence of radiodermatitis.

Results

The proportion of patients who did not develop radiodermatitis was significantly higher in the intensive use group (27.6% vs. 15.5%; p<0.05; OR: 2.07). Compared with the same lotion in standard conditions, the intensive use group showed lower incidence of radiodermatitis (p<0.01), lower grade of toxicity (p<0.001) and lower proportion of radiodermatitis grade 2 or higher (p<0.01). Conclusions Intensive use of the lotion doubles the likelihood that breast cancer patients will not develop radiodermatitis during radiotherapy. Furthermore, compared with standard use, intensive use is more effective in reducing the incidence of skin toxicity and skin toxicity grade 2 or higher.