Medical prevention and treatment of acute and chronic radiation induced enteritis--is there any proven therapy? a short review.Z Gastroenterol 2008; 46(5):441-8ZG
Radiation enteritis is a severe problem in patients receiving irradiation of the abdomen or pelvis in the course of cancer treatment. Nevertheless, there is a lack of standardised strategies for medical prevention and therapy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A PubMed based literature search was performed to address the available data on the prevention of and therapy for acute and chronic radiation enteritis.
Four double-blind and placebo-controlled studies used 5-aminosalycilates in the prevention of acute radiation enteritis. Only for sulphasalzine 2 g/d was a positive effect proven. Prophylactic administration of probiotics reduced the incidence of acute radiation enteritis in a large placebo-controlled trial. If acute radiation enteritis was present octreotide ameliorated radiation-induced diarrhoea in a randomised study. Two investigations, only one of them randomised, described the effectiveness of loperamide in the treatment of acute radiation enteritis. If diarrhoea was also the main symptom of chronic radiation enteritis, loperamide reduced stool frequency in a double-blind and placebo-controlled study. A retrospective analysis of severe cases of chronic radiation enteritis with obstruction and fistula indicated that parenteral nutrition at home was more effective than surgery.
Reduction of radiation dose and field size are still the most important factors in the prevention of acute and chronic radiation enteritis. Valid data particularly on the treatment of chronic radiation enteritis are lacking. A better understanding of the pathopysiology especially in chronic radiation enteritis might offer new therapeutic perspectives. Inhibition of TGF-beta, for example, might be a new promising therapy approach.