Dr. Maitland DeLand, a radiation oncologist at LSU School of Medicine, New Orleans, and president of OncoLogics, Inc, in Lafayette, La, has found that following radiotherapy for breast cancer, exposing women to low-energy nonthermal light-emitting diode (LED) photomodulation can significantly reduce painful, treatment-interrupting skin reactions.
DeLand performed a study treating 19 breast cancer patients with radiation therapy followed by LED photomodulation and 28 with only radiation. Of the 19 women treated with LED photomodulation, 18 had mild or no dermatitis, while all 28 patients treated only with radiation had some degree of skin reaction. All of the women who participated in the study had stage I or II breast cancer and received intensity-modulated radiation therapy following a lumpectomy. Some had received chemotherapy prior to radiotherapy.
Reduces Treatment Interruptions
"Radiation dermatitis is an adverse condition that can affect regimen schedules," said Dr. DeLand. "Using LED photomodulation reduces the need for treatment interruptions allowing the patient to complete radiation in the most timely and effective way possible."
The 19 women who received daily radiation therapy followed by LED treatment, in which 100 pulses of light at 0.15 joules/cm2 for 250 ms each are delivered to the irradiated breast, used only a dry skin ointment after their daily sessions. The 28 women who underwent the same radiation therapy protocol but had no LED photomodulation were also allowed to use a dry skin ointment. All patients had a weekly evaluation of the irradiated skin.
Dr. DeLand found that 7 of the women who had received LED photomodulation had no skin reactions, 11 had only mild (grade 1) reactions, and one had moderate (grade 2) radiation-induced dermatitis. In addition, none of the patients who underwent photomodulation experienced moist skin reactions, although one patient in this group had inflammation severe enough to require interruption of radiotherapy.
All 28 patients not receiving LED photomodulation had some type of skin reaction following radiation therapy: 4 had mild radiation dermatitis, 18 had moderate dermatitis, and 6 had serious skin reactions. Of these 28 patients, 19 required temporary interruption of treatment because of erythematous reactions and moist desquamation.
New Concept in Cancer Therapy
LED photomodulation is widely used in cosmetic dermatology for improving skin healing and appearance. The apparatus consists of light-emitting diodes in a specific array that emit a nonthermal, low-energy light at a pulsating frequency. Using photomodulation for skin repair with cancer patients is a new concept.