A trial looking at a cream to reduce skin reactions caused by radiotherapy

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Cancer type:

Breast cancer





This trial looked at using a steroid cream to help reduce skin reactions caused by having radiotherapy to the breast and chest wall.

Radiotherapy Open a glossary item can make the skin go dry, red, itchy and sore around the treatment area. An earlier research study had found that using a steroid cream might help to decrease radiotherapy skin reactions. In this trial, researchers compared a steroid cream with a non-steroid cream on a larger number of people to see if they could confirm this finding.

The aims of the trial were to find out if using a steroid cream to the treatment area reduced skin reactions caused by radiotherapy and improved quality of life.

Summary of results

The trial team found that the steroid cream significantly reduced skin reactions caused by radiotherapy when it was applied to the breast and chest wall for  5 weeks, from the start of radiotherapy.

120 people having radiotherapy took part in the trial.

  • 62 people applied a steroid cream called mometasone furoate
  • 58 people applied a non-steroid cream called diprobase

The people taking part used a specially designed scoring system to rate how red their skin was around the treatment area. At each hospital visit, 2 researchers also assessed the area.

The researchers looked at all the scores and found that the people who had the steroid cream had much lower levels of skin redness than the people who had diprobase.

Everyone filled in a questionnaire asking how the skin reactions affected their daily life. These are called quality of life questionnaires. On average, people in the steroid cream group reported a better quality of life than people in the diprobase group.

The researchers concluded that having mometasone furoate steroid cream to the treatment area was useful. It reduced skin reactions and improved quality of life in this group of people. The researchers suggest that the steroid cream should be considered as usual care for people having radiotherapy to areas such as the chest, breast or groin where skin reactions are expected.

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

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.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Andrew Hindley

Supported by

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Rosemere Cancer Foundation

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 876

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Caroline took part in a clinical trial for breast cancer

“I had treatment last year and I want to give something back.”

Last reviewed:

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