Topical Corticosteroid Therapy for the Prevention of Acute Radiation Dermatitis

A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Chandra F Meghrajani; Henri Cartier S Co; Charlene Marie U Ang-Tiu; Francisca C Roa


Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2013;6(6):641-649. 

In This Article


Acute radiation dermatitis (ARD) is a common side effect of radiation therapy and is characterized by erythema, dry desquamation or moist desquamation. This wet desquamation is a very painful condition for the patient and often leads to interruption of radiotherapy. The objective of this article is to assess the efficacy of topical corticosteroids in the prevention of ARD compared with placebo, other topical medication or no treatment. The prophylactic application of topical corticosteroid among patients undergoing radiotherapy appears to significantly reduce the incidence of ARD, specifically moist desquamation, compared with other treatments. Future trials with a more standardized measure of radiation dermatitis grading are recommended. Further research may also be conducted to determine if a mildly potent, midpotent or super potent topical steroid will be more effective in preventing ARD.