GM-CSF Impregnated Gauze

GM-CSF Impregnated Gauze

PEP Topic 

Granulocyte macrophage–colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is a substance that binds to hemopoetic stem cells, activating them to profliferate and differentiate into granulocytes and macrophages. Colony-stimulating factors also have local effects related to immune response and wound healing; local application has been evaluated in the treatment of mucositis.  In this particular intervention, gauze was impregnated with GM-CSF solution and studied for its effect on prevention of radiodermatitis.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Kouvaris, J.R., Kouloulias, V.E., Plataniotis, G.A., Balafouta, E.J., & Vlahos, L.J. (2001). Dermatitis during radiation for vulvar carcinoma: Prevention and treatment with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor impregnated gauze. Wound Repair and Regeneration, 9, 187–193.

doi: 10.1046/j.1524-475x.2001.00187.x

Study Purpose:

To determine effectiveness of GM-CSF impregnated gauze in preventing and healing acute radiation-induced dermatitis

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

The study took place from November 1981 to March 1998. Group A (n = 37) was comprised of patients treated from 1981 to 1993 and received steroid creams (e.g., Betamethasone) as prophylaxis to radiation-induced dermatitis. Group B (n = 24) was comprised of patients treated from 1993 to 1998 and received steroid creams from the start of treatment and, following 20 Gy of radiation, also recieved GM-CSF impregnated gauze. Dressings were applied twice daily, 12 hours apart, for the rest of their treatment, while steroid cream was applied once a day, intermediately. The same doctors and technicians treated all patients during this time interval and were evaluated using a standard protocol. Findings from both groups were analyzed retrospectively.

Sample Characteristics:

  • The study sample was comprised of 61 female patients.
  • Median age of the sample was 74 years, with a range of 38–84 years.
  • Patients had a diagnosis of invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the vulva.


The study took place at a university hospital in Greece.

Study Design:

The study used a retrospective design.

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

  • Patients were examined clinically twice a week to estimate the cutaneous reactions to the groin areas, vulva, perineum, and labiocrural folds.
  • Radiation dermatitis was classified in four grades using Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (RTOG/EORTC) toxicity scoring.
  • Pain was classified into four grades according to the subjective scale of Subjective Objective Management Analytic grading system.


Group B had overall lower subjective pain results (p = 0.0014). Those who had received the GM-CSF had overall less severe skin toxicity by RTOG/EORTC grading (p = 0.008).


GM-CSF impregnated gauze can be effective in preventing and healing radiation-induced dermatitis and in reducing the interruption intervals in radiation therapy for vulvar carcinomas.


  • The sample size is small, with less than 50 patients.
  • The study used a nonrandomized, retrospective design. Small non-randomized study, retrospective study, Low accumulation of participants:12 years of study for group A (37 patients)
  • Group A had 12 years of study and Group B had 5 years of study.
  • The study did not specify the breakdown of stage and grade of cancers in each group, and a wide range of patient characteristics in body mass were included.
  • The study did not specify number of patients per group who had surgery before radiation, required a boost dose, required pelvic radiation, or had a treatment break.
  • No explanation/validation of the SOMA pain grading system was provided.