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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of sucralfate on acute and late bowel discomfort following radiotherapy of pelvic cancer.

PURPOSE: Radiotherapy, a cornerstone in the management of pelvic cancer, is accompanied by intestinal reactions. Therefore, we investigated the possible effects of sucralfate, an aluminium hydroxide complex of sulfated sucrose used in the treatment of gastric ulcer, in preventing radiation-induced diarrhea and bowel discomfort in patients treated with curative intention for pelvic cancer with external radiotherapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study was double-blind and placebo-controlled and included 70 patients with carcinoma in the prostate or urinary bladder without distant metastases (T1-4No1xMo) and a performance status of greater than or equal to 90% on the Karnofsky scale. Radiotherapy was conventionally delivered with high-energy photons (four-field technique, the total dose 64 Gy, 2 Gy daily, total treatment time 5 to 6 weeks). Dose granules of sucralfate or placebo were dispensed to each patient 2 weeks after radiation started and continued for 6 weeks. All analyses were performed blindly. RESULTS: The frequency of defecation and stool consistency were significantly improved by sucralfate. Fourteen patients in the placebo group and three in the sucralfate group required symptomatic therapy with loperamide. One year later, the patients in the sucralfate group displayed significantly less problems with frequency of defecation, mucus, and blood in the stools compared with the placebo group. There was also a lower intake of loperamide and the weight decrease was less pronounced in the sucralfate group. There was no evidence of adverse effects associated with the use of sucralfate. CONCLUSION: It is suggested that sucralfate can be of beneficial value in diminishing bowel discomfort during treatment and, most importantly, sucralfate also reduces the late bowel disturbances that follow radiotherapeutic treatment of pelvic malignancies. The earlier proposed mechanisms of action (eg, protection of denuded mucosa, cytoprotective properties, binding bile acids) seem adequate to explain the present effects of sucralfate.[1]


  1. Effects of sucralfate on acute and late bowel discomfort following radiotherapy of pelvic cancer. Henriksson, R., Franzén, L., Littbrand, B. J. Clin. Oncol. (1992) [Pubmed]
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