Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

PEP Topic 

Supplementation of the diet with various vitamins and other supplements has been studied in patients with cancer for its impact on a variety of symptoms. Individual study summaries should be reviewed for identification of the specific supplements used.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Di Franco, R., Calvanese, M., Murino, P., Manzo, R., Guida, C., Di Gennaro, D., . . . Ravo, V. (2012). Skin toxicity from external beam radiation therapy in breast cancer patients: Protective effects of Resveratrol, Lycopene, Vitamin C and anthocianin (Ixor®). Radiation Oncology (London, England), 7, 12.

doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-7-12

Study Purpose:

To evaluate the effect of dietary supplements in reducing skin toxicity due to radiotherapy in patients with breast cancer

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

Patients were treated with either dietary supplements or use of topical prophylactic hyaluronic acid and a topical steroid therapy in case of occurrence of radiodermatitis. Patients who were treated with dietary supplements were perscribed resveratrol, lycopene, vitamin C, and anthocyanins at a does of 2 tablets per day. Patients were not randomly assigned.

Sample Characteristics:

  • The study sample (N = 71) was comprised of female patients.
  • Age ranged from 30–80 years.
  • Some patients were receiving adjuvant chemotherapy as well



The study took place in an outpatient setting.

Phase of Care and Clinical Applications:

Patients were undergoing active antitumor treatment.

Study Design:

 The study used a retrospective observational design.

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

Patients were assessed using the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer skin toxicity scale.


In patients evaluated at various radiation therapy doses, odds ratios and relative risk of development of grade 0–1 and 2–3 skin toxicity were calculated.  All ratios were less than 1.0, which cannot be evaluated. No statistically significant differences were reported, and no analysis of significance was provided.


The study does not provide or report sufficient evidence to draw any conclusions.


  • The study had a small sample size, with less than 100 participants.
  • The study had a risk of bias due to no control group, blinding, or random assignment.
  • Measurement and methods were not described.
  • Measurement validity and reliability are questionable.

Nursing Implications:

The study does not provide evaluative evidence for use of dietary supplements to prevent radiodermatitis.