Topical treatment of radiation-induced dermatitis: current issues and potential solutions

Nicola Alessandro Iacovelli MD, Yvan Torrente MD, PhD, Adriana Ciuffreda MD, Vittorio A Guardamagna MD, PhD, Marta Gentili MS, Luca Giacomelli PhD, Paola Sacerdote PhD


Approximately 95% of patients receiving radiotherapy (RT) will ultimately develop radiation-induced dermatitis (RID) during or after the course of treatment, with major consequences on quality of life and treatment outcomes. This paper reviews the pathophysiology of RID and currently used topical products for the prevention and treatment of RID. Although there is no consensus on the appropriate management, recent evidence suggests that the use of topical products supports to protect and promote tissue repair in patients with RID. Basic recommendations include advice to wear loose clothing, using electric razors if necessary, and avoiding cosmetic products, sun exposure or extreme temperatures. Based on mechanisms involved and on the clinical characteristics of oncological patients, the profile of the ideal topical product for addressing RID can be designed; it should have limited risk of adverse events, systemic adsorption and drug–drug interactions, should be characterized by multiple clinical activities, with a special focus on localized pain, and should have a careful formulation as some vehicles can block the RT beam.

Article Details

Article Type




Publication Dates

Accepted: ; Published: .


Iacovelli NA, Torrente Y, Ciuffreda A, Guardamagna AV, Gentili M, Giacomelli L, Sacerdote P. Topical treatment of radiationinduced dermatitis: current issues and potential solutions. Drugs in Context 2020; 9: 2020-4-7. DOI: 10.7573/dic.2020-4-7

Register for alerts

I would like to be contacted by Drugs in Context when new articles are posted.