Use of axillary deodorant and effect on acute skin toxicity during radiotherapy for breast cancer: a prospective randomized noninferiority trial

Valérie Théberge, François Harel, Anne Dagnault
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2009 November 15, 75 (4): 1048-52

PURPOSE: To prospectively determine the effect of deodorant use on acute skin toxicity and quality of life during breast radiotherapy (RT).

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Before breast RT, 84 patients were randomly assigned to the deodorant group (n = 40) or the no-deodorant group (n = 44). The patients were stratified by axillary RT and previous chemotherapy. Toxicity evaluations were always performed by the principal investigator, who was unaware of the group assignment, at the end of RT and 2 weeks after completion using the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group acute skin toxicity criteria. Symptoms of acute skin toxicity (i.e., discomfort, pain, pruritus, sweating) and quality of life were self-evaluated. For each criterion, the point estimate of rate difference with the 95% one-sided upper confidence limit was computed. To claim noninferiority owing to deodorant use, the 95% one-sided upper confidence limit had to be lower than the noninferiority margin, fixed to 12.8%.

RESULTS: In the deodorant vs. no-deodorant groups, Grade 2 axillary radiodermatitis occurred in 23% vs. 30%, respectively, satisfying the statistical criteria for noninferiority (p = .019). Grade 2 breast radiodermatitis occurred in 30% vs. 34% of the deodorant vs. no-deodorant groups, respectively, also satisfying the statistical criteria for noninferiority (p = .049). Similar results were observed for the self-reported evaluations. The deodorant group reported less sweating (18% vs. 39%, p = .032). No Grade 3 or 4 radiodermatitis was observed.

CONCLUSION: According to our noninferiority margin definition, the occurrence of skin toxicity and its related symptoms were statistically equivalent in both groups. No evidence was found to prohibit deodorant use (notwithstanding the use of an antiperspirant with aluminum) during RT for breast cancer.

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