Complementary and alternative medicine in reducing radiation-induced skin toxicity
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Radiation therapy-induced acute and late effects, particularly skin toxicities, have significant impact on cancer patients’ quality of life and long-term survival. To date, no effective topical agents have been routinely used in the clinical setting to prevent skin toxicity. Using SKH-hr1 hairless mice, we investigated two complementary and alternative medicine in their effects on inflammation and ionizing radiation (IR)-induced skin toxicity: Calendula officinalis (CO) and Ching Wan Hung (CWH). They were applied immediately following each IR dosing of 10 Gy/day for 4 days. Skin toxicity and inflammatory factors were evaluated at multiple time points up to 15 days post-radiation. Serum interleukin (IL)-1α, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP1), keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC), and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) were significantly induced by radiation. Both CO and CWH significantly inhibited IR-induced MCP1 (p < 0.01), KC (p < 0.05), and G-CSF (p < 0.001). IR-induced erythema and blood vessel dilation were significantly reduced by CWH (p < 0.001) but not by CO at day 10 post-IR. Both agents inhibited IR-induced IL-1α (p < 0.01), MCP1 (p < 0.05), and vascular endothelial growth factor (p < 0.05). There were continuous inhibitory effects of CWH on IR-induced skin toxicities and inflammation. In contrast, CO treatment resulted in skin reactions compared to IR alone. Our results suggest that both CO and CWH reduce IR-induced inflammation and CWH reduced IR-induced erythema. In summary, CWH showed promising effects in reducing IR-related inflammation and skin toxicities, and future proof-of-principal testing in humans will be critical in evaluating its potential application in preventing IR-induced skin toxicities.
KeywordsRadiation protection Complementary and alternative medicine Skin toxicity Inflammation
We dedicate this paper to the memory of senior research associate Venetta Thomas, who has provided technical support. We are thankful to Ahmed Mansoor and Xiadong Wu for technical support. This study was supported by a Department of Defense Concept Award (BC076685) and to J. J. Hu.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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