Investigating the Therapeutic Effectiveness of Aloe Barbadensis in Reducing Cutaneous Side-Effects of Radiation Treatment for Breast Cancer.

00:28 EDT 30th March 2015 | BioPortfolio


Breast cancer treatment often involved radiation to the breast. A side-effect of this treatment is skin redness, itching and burning. Some patients have quite severe reactions. Our current treatment for this is to avoid any soaps or other skin irritants and to use a moisturizing cream once all radiation is finished. Aloe vera is believed by many people to be useful for treatment of skin burns but this has never been proven in a randomized study. The aim of this study is to compare aloe vera gel versus plan gel versus the standard treatment to determine if there is any benefit. If there was a benefit of gel treatment over standard it could make radiation treatments more tolerable for cancer patients.


BackgroundRadiation therapy is an important component of treatment for breast cancer, especially in the setting of breast conservation. Even though cancer patients who are receiving radiation treatments follow established hygiene and skin-care protocols they still experience differing degrees of cutaneous skin reactions and associated symptoms of dryness, itchiness, burning sensations, and pain.1-7 For some patients the side-effects associated with radiation therapy can become so severe serious consideration is given to discontinuing treatments. The treatments currently used for reducing cutaneous reactions and symptoms are very limited and often ineffective.5-7 Anti-inflammatories and steroid-based topical pharmaceutical agents are used sparingly due in part to research findings8 and potential harmful side-effects.7 This has left physicians and patients using a trial and error approach in seeking an alternative treatment that will help these patients cope with (and sometimes endure) the cutaneous radiation side-effects. Ongoing clinical experience and discussions with present and former radiation patients reveals that skin irritation, breakdown, pain and associated suffering are common side-effects that patients wish they did not have to experience. The lack of effective, efficient, non-pharmacological treatments for reducing symptoms associated with cutaneous skin reactions to radiation cancer therapy is problematic. Study Objectives the overall aim of the study is to determine if biologically active A. barbadensis is a therapeutic agent for reduction of cutaneous side effects women experience as a result of undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer.The primary aim is to determine if there is a significant reduction or increase of cutaneous skin reactions using A. barbadensis on the irradiated skin of the breast or chest wall in comparison to following the standard CCI non-pharmacological treatment protocol and in comparison to using the moist inert vehicle gel on the irradiated site.The secondary aim is to explore if there is a reduction or increase in subjective symptoms at the irradiated site with the use of A. barbadensis in comparison to following the standard CCI 'best care' non-pharmacological treatment protocol and in comparison to using the moist inert vehicle gel on the irradiated site.MethodThis study is a single blind randomized controlled trial using a three Arm design. Analysis stratification is being conducted according to radiation technique, breast size, smoker vs. non-smoker, nutrition, protocol adherence, and prior chemotherapy. The control arm will treat the skin reaction as per standard CCI breast radiation protocol

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Double-Blind, Primary Purpose: Prevention


-Breast Cancer


Aloe barbadensis topical application in a moisturizing cream vehicle.


Cross Cancer Institute
T6G 1Z2




Alberta Health Services

Results (where available)

View Results


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A highly polar organic liquid, that is used widely as a chemical solvent. Because of its ability to penetrate biological membranes, it is used as a vehicle for topical application of pharmaceuticals. It is also used to protect tissue during CRYOPRESERVATION. Dimethyl sulfoxide shows a range of pharmacological activity including analgesia and anti-inflammation.

Medicated dosage forms for topical application in the vagina. A cream is a semisolid emulsion containing suspended or dissolved medication; a foam is a dispersion of a gas in a medicated liquid resulting in a light, frothy mass; a jelly is a colloidal semisolid mass of a water soluble medicated material, usually translucent.

A plant genus of the family Aloeaceae, order Liliales (or Asphodelaceae, Asparagales in APG system) which is used medicinally. It contains anthraquinone glycosides such as aloin-emodin or aloe-emodin (EMODIN).

Use of ultrasound for imaging the breast. The most frequent application is the diagnosis of neoplasms of the female breast.

Fluorides, usually in pastes or gels, used for topical application to reduce the incidence of DENTAL CARIES.

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