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0032. Wheatgrass cream reduces skin toxicity from radiotherapy in breast cancer patients

Wheatgrass extract as a topical skin agent for acute radiation skin toxicity in breast radiation therapy: A randomized controlled trial.

Wheat J., Currie G., Coulter K.  J. Aust. Trad. Med. Soc. 2006;12(3):135--137)

Background: Radiation therapy is an important component in the treatment of certain types of cancer. Unfortunately when external beam radiation is used (radiation from outside the body pointed at a tumor within the body) healthy skin can be burned and damaged as a result.

 
The effects of acute radiation skin toxicity (ARST) that are seen in most patients undergoing breast irradiation vary in nature and degree, but often include severely painful and unsightly lesions, sometimes necessitating the termination of treatment. Few satisfactory results have been achieved in the many endeavors to treat these lesions. However, wheatgrass extract, (in the form of Dr Wheatgrass Skin Recovery Cream) a topical anti-inflammatory, immune modulator, substance P inhibitor, topical hemostatic agent, and stimulant of fibroblastic activity with a wide range of healing properties, has significantly improved outcomes. It is also inexpensive.

Clinical Trial: A pilot study was conducted at Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia. Thirty women who were about to receive radiation therapy for breast cancer participated in the study. Approximately half the women received a wheatgrass extract cream and the remaining women received a cream without wheatgrass. Just prior to radiation therapy and during treatment, women applied their given study cream three times a day. The average peak skin damage caused by radiation treatment did not differ between groups, but women in the wheatgrass group did not develop skin damage as quickly as the control group. Also, the women using wheatgrass cream had better quality of life at six weeks. Importantly, the dose of radiation therapy was higher, on average, in the wheatgrass group than in control. In the treatment modification group, wheatgrass extract was employed, while current best practice (sorbolene cream) was used for the controls, but patients were blinded as to their treatment group.

Conclusion: ARST is known to be associated with patient weight and breast size, and this tendency was reflected in the two groups in this study, the wheatgrass group being greater in both measures. In the wheatgrass group, a statistically significant delay was achieved regarding the severity of ARST; there was also some significant improvement in QOL. Both of these differences are important in cases where patient compliance is threatened. The findings point to a potential role of wheatgrass extract in the management of this distressing condition.

Dr. Chris Reynolds | Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | Permalink

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