Melatonin cream protects from radiation burns in breast cancer patients
Redness, tenderness, and swelling of the skin are common during radiotherapy for breast cancer.
Melatonin-based creams protect from these effects in rats. So, researchers at Tel Aviv University, in Israel, tested it in women with breast cancer.
First, the details.
* After lumpectomy, 47 were randomly assigned to a treatment group during radiotherapy.
o Melatonin cream applied twice daily
* All women received 50Gy whole breast radiotherapy with 2Gy/fx.
* There was no difference between the groups regarding histology, stage, treatment, skin color, BMI, and the details of their surgery.
* Patients were examined, photographed.
* They completed a detailed questionnaire weekly and 2 weeks following radiotherapy.
* The ROTG (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group) criteria were used to measure severity of skin reactions.
* Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.
And, the results.
* Grade 1 or 2 acute dermatitis occurred significantly less in the melatonin group immediately following radiotherapy (59% vs 90%) — almost a 50% reduction.
o For comparison, up to 90% of breast cancer patients have acute skin reactions during radiation therapy — grade 2 severity in about a third of cases.
* 4 times as many patients had grade 0 toxicity with melatonin vs placebo.
* The difference was greatest among women older then 50, with 56% having grade 1 and or 2 in the melatonin group vs 100% in the placebo a — a significant difference.
* Smokers in the melatonin group did significantly better than non-smokers.
The bottom line?
The authors concluded that these are; “promising results for the melatonin containing cream in preventing radiation induced skin reactions.”