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Volume 24, Number 6, 2019

Skin barrier function in patients under radiation therapy due to the head and neck cancers - Preliminary study

Jakub Pazdrowski, Adriana Polańska, Joanna Kaźmierska, Wojciech Barczak, Mateusz Szewczyk, Zygmunt Adamski, Ryszard Żaba, Paweł Golusiński, Aleksandra Dańczak-Pazdrowska


Aim To present the possibility of non-invasive monitoring of the skin after radiotherapy in regards of epidermal barrier function. Background Radiodermatitis constitutes 95% of all side effects in patients after radiotherapy. The proper assessment of the severity of radiodermatitis can be determined using semi-quantitative clinical scores [Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v 4.0 (CTCAE)].The most accepted way to analyze the epidermal barrier function is to determine Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL). Material and methods In prospective study, we included 16 patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer treated with radiotherapy or concomitant chemoradiation in whom we performed non-invasive assessments of the skin barrier function, including TEWL measurement. The final analysis included 6 patients (4 treated with adjuvant radiotherapy, 2 with radical chemoradiation). Clinical assessment of irradiated skin was based on target lesion score (TLS) and CTCAE v 4.0 Results The mean TLS score in the middle of irradiation was 1.6 points, after last irradiation it was 2.3 points; 3 months later the mean TLS score was: 0. CTCAE v 4.0 criteria: 2 patients had grade 0, 3 patients - grade 1; 1 patient - grade 2. There were statistically significant differences in TEWL related to irradiated skin in the following time intervals: before vs. in the middle; before vs. day after; in the middle vs. day after; in the middle vs. 3 months after; day after vs. 3 months after. Conclusions The study showed that radiotherapy causes skin barrier dysfunction in all patients independently of clinical radiodermatitis. The biophysical features of this dysfunction can precede clinical symptoms and they can be assessed by non-invasive and objective methods.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2019; 24(6) : 563-567

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