Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for late radiation tissue injury in gynecologic malignancies
Late radiation tissue injury is a serious complication of radiotherapy for patients with gynecologic malignancies. Strategies for managing pain and other clinical features have limited efficacy; however, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO2) may be an effective option for some patients.
In a systematic review of the literature, the Ovid medline, embase, Cochrane Library, National Guidelines Clearinghouse, and Canadian Medical Association Infobase databases were searched to June 2009 for clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, or other relevant evidence. Studies that did not evaluate soft tissue necrosis, cystitis, proctitis, bone necrosis, and other complications were excluded.
Two randomized trials, eleven nonrandomized studies, and five supporting documents comprise the evidence base. In addition, information on the harms and safety of treatment with HBO2 were reported in three additional sources. There is modest direct evidence and emerging indirect evidence that the use of HBO2 is broadly effective for late radiation tissue injury of the pelvis in women treated for gynecologic malignancies.
Based on the evidence and expert consensus opinion,
- HBO2 is likely effective for late radiation tissue injury of the pelvis, with demonstrated efficacy specifically for radiation damage to the anus and rectum;
- the main indication for HBO2 therapy in gynecologic oncology is in the management of otherwise refractory chronic radiation injury;
- HBO2 may provide symptomatic benefit in certain clinical settings (for example, cystitis, soft-tissue necrosis, and osteonecrosis); and
- HBO2 may reduce the complications of gynecologic surgery in patients undergoing surgical removal of necrosis.