Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology vol:47 issue:2 pages:149-53
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We evaluated sucralfate, well-known in the treatment of gastric ulcers, in relation to its possible reduction of radiation-induced acute complications in the treatment of head and neck cancers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred two patients were randomized in a double-blind placebo-controlled prospective setting. All patients were treated to a minimum dose of 55 Gy in 5 weeks. Oral intake of sucralfate was started at the beginning of radiotherapy and continued during the whole treatment at a dose of 1 g six times a day. All patients were scored according to a scoring system developed in our department. Weight was checked once a week. RESULTS: Comparing the time course of the mean scores for subjective intolerance, mucositis, dysphagia, dermatitis and nausea, no statistically significant differences between the two treatment arms (sucralfate, n = 38; placebo, n = 45) were observed. The mean weight loss in the sucralfate arm was 1.6 +/- 3.4 kg while it was 1.3 +/- 2.0 kg in the placebo arm. Apart from gastrointestinal upset, the administration of sucralfate did not cause any side-effects. CONCLUSION: This trial produced no clinical evidence indicating that the oral intake of sucralfate reduces the acute radiation-induced side-effects. Therefore, we do not recommend the prophylactic use of sucralfate in patients with head and neck cancer treated by radiotherapy.