“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A trial looking at IH636 grape seed extract to reduce side effects of high dose radiotherapy for breast cancer
This trial compared grape seed extract (GSPE) to a placebo to see if could help with side effects of radiotherapy. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
Women with breast cancer often have radiotherapy after surgery. This is to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. In a few women, radiotherapy can cause long term side effects, especially if they have high doses.
The long term side effects include scar tissue (fibrosis) and a collection of fluid (oedema) which can cause the breast tissue to become hard. This can be uncomfortable. Doctors hope that taking grape seed extract might reduce this hardness, and relieve the discomfort.
The aim of this trial was to see if GSPE could reduce long term side effects of high dose radiotherapy for breast cancer.
Summary of results
This trial was not able to show that grape seed extract capsules reduce breast hardness caused by radiotherapy for breast cancer.
This trial recruited 66 women. Two thirds (44 women) took grape seed extract capsules 3 times a day for 6 months. The other third (22 women) took dummy (placebo) capsules 3 times a day for 6 months.
The research team measured the area of hardness before the women started taking the capsules. And again 6 months after they finished taking the capsules (a year after they started the trial).
A few more women who took grape seed extract had a reduction in breast hardness. But it was not enough of a difference to be ‘
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor John Yarnold
Cancer Research UK
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/02/003.