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

Nicola Alessandro Lacovelli, Yvan Torrente, Adriana Ciuffreda, Vittorio A. Guardamagna, Marta Gentili, Luca Giacomelli, Paola Sacerdote

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Approximately 95% of patients receiving radiotherapy (RI) 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 RI beam.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2020-4-7
JournalDrugs in Context
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Pain
  • Quality of life
  • Radiation-induced dermatitis
  • Radiotherapy
  • Skin toxicity
  • Topical treatment.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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