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ABSTRACT: Acute rectal complications occur in the majority of patients receiving external-beam radiotherapy for carcinoma of the prostate. Sucralfate has been proposed to reduce radiation-induced mucosal injury by forming a protective barrier on ulcer bases, binding local growth factors, and stimulating angiogenesis. However, there is conflicting clinical evidence as to whether sucralfate, taken prophylactically during radiotherapy, can ameliorate the symptoms of acute radiation proctitis.
A double-blind randomized trial was conducted at four Radiation Oncology Departments in Sydney, Australia, between February 1995 and June 1997. A total of 338 patients with clinically localized prostate cancer receiving small volume radiotherapy, of whom 335 were evaluable, were randomized to receive either 3 g of oral sucralfate suspension or placebo twice a day during radiotherapy. Patients kept a daily record of their bowel symptoms and were graded according to the RTOG/EORTC acute toxicity criteria.
One hundred sixty-four patients received sucralfate and 171 received placebo. Both groups were well balanced with regard to patient, tumor, treatment factors, and baseline symptoms, except that the placebo group had a significantly more liquid baseline stool consistency score (p = 0.004). Patients kept a daily diary of symptoms during radiotherapy. After adjusting for baseline values, there was no significant difference between the two groups with regard to stool frequency (p = 0.41), consistency (p = 0.20), flatus (p = 0.25), mucus (p = 0.54), and pain (p = 0.73). However, there was more bleeding in the sucralfate group, with 64% of patients noticing rectal bleeding, compared with 47% in the placebo group (p = 0.001). There was no significant difference between the two groups with respect to RTOG/EORTC acute toxicity (p = 0.88; sucralfate 13%, 44%, 43% and placebo 15%, 44%, 40% for grade 0, 1, and 2, respectively).
This study suggests that oral sucralfate taken prophylactically during radiotherapy does not ameliorate the symptoms of acute radiation proctitis and may increase acute bleeding. The cause of the increased bleeding in the sucralfate group is unclear. As the pathogenesis of acute and late reactions are different, late follow-up, which includes sigmoidoscopic evaluation, is currently being performed on this cohort of patients.
International Journal of Radiation OncologyBiologyPhysics 12/2001; 51(3):628-35. · 4.52 Impact Factor