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Br J Radiol. 2014 Jun;87(1038):20130490. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20130490. Epub 2014 Apr 2.

Topical application of a sandal wood oil and turmeric based cream prevents radiodermatitis in head and neck cancer patients undergoing external beam radiotherapy: a pilot study.

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Department of Pharmacology, Father Muller Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India.



The study objective was to assess the effectiveness of a turmeric- and sandal wood oil-containing cream [Vicco(®) turmeric cream (VTC); Vicco Laboratories, Parel, India] on radiodermatitis in patients with head and neck cancer undergoing radiotherapy.


A total of 50 patients with head and neck cancer requiring >60 Gy of curative radiotherapy/chemoradiotherapy were enrolled in the study. The volunteers were randomly divided into two groups of 25 patients. Group 1 was assigned to a topical application of Johnson's(®) baby oil (Johnson & Johnson Ltd, Baddi, India) and Group 2 for VTC. Prophylactic application of the cream was initiated on Day 1 and continued every day until 2 weeks after the end of treatment. Both agents were symmetrically applied within the irradiated field five times a day, and the acute skin reactions were assessed twice weekly in accordance with the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group scores by an investigator who was unaware of the details.


The incidence of radiodermatitis increased with the exposure to radiation and was the highest in both groups at Week 7. However, a significant reduction in grades of dermatitis were seen in cohorts applying VTC at all time points, including 2 weeks post radiotherapy (p < 0.015 to p < 0.001). The occurrence of Grade 3 dermatitis was lower in the cohorts using VTC and was statistically significant (p < 0.01). Additionally, follow-up observations 2 weeks after the completion of radiotherapy also showed a reduced degree of radiodermatitis in cohorts applying VTC, which was significant (p = 0.015).


VTC is shown to be effective in preventing radiodermatitis and needs to be validated in larger double-blind trials.


For the first time, this study shows that the turmeric- and sandal oil-based cream was effective in preventing radiation-induced dermatitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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