Schmuth, M., Wimmer, M.A., Hofer, S., Sztankay, A., Weinlich, G., Linder, D.M., . . . Fritsch, E. (2002). Topical corticosteroid therapy for acute radiation dermatitis: A prospective, randomized, double-blind study. British Journal of Dermatology, 146, 983–991.doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.04751.x
To compare treatment with topical 0%–1% methylprednisolone versus 0%–5% dexpanthenol and historical controls in a cohort of patients undergoing fractionated radiation therapy
After obtaining baseline data on an initial control cohort of untreated patients (n = 15), a subsequent cohort of patients was randomized to either 0%–1% methylprednisolone aceponate cream or 0%–5% dexpanthenol cream. Patients were instructed to apply the assigned cream twice daily from initiation of radiation therapy and for a two-week period after completion. No other topical medications, emollients, or powders were used during this period.
The study took place at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
The study used a prospective randomized double-blind study design with comparison to historical controls.
Comparison of treatment groups with the historical, untreated control group suggested that either of the two topical regimens was superior to no treatment with respect to transepidermal water loss measurements, but not statistically significant. Transepidermal water loss levels did not differ between patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy and those who did not. There were no differences in quality-of-life findings. No quality-of-life data were obtained from untreated individuals in the preliminary cohort group. Skindex scores showed appearance of radiation dermatitis in virtually all participants. The dexpanthenol group showed deterioration that reached statistical significance for dimensions of depression, embarrassment, discomfort, and limitations (p < 0.05).
Prophylactic and ongoing use of topical therapy with topical corticosteroid or dexpanthenol-containing emollient does not prevent radiation dermatitis.