Melatonin cream protects from radiation burns in breast cancer patients

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
          o Placebo
    * 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.”