Objective: Radiation proctitis is a known complication of radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Available medical treatment is usually ineffective and has focused on relieving symptoms after damage has occurred. Our study aimed at evaluating the use of misoprostol rectal suppositories in the prevention of acute as well as chronic radiation proctitis symptoms.
Methods: A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial was conducted in patients with recently diagnosed stages B and C prostate cancer who underwent external beam irradiation. Patients received either a misoprostol or a placebo suppository 1 h before each radiation session. Misoprostol suppositories were made from two 200-microg tablets (Cytotec, Searle Pharmaceuticals, Skokie, IL), whereas the placebo was made from cocoa butter. A 12-point radiation proctitis symptom score was obtained from each patient at 4, 8, 12, and 36 wk after radiation therapy.
Results: A total of 16 patients were enrolled. Seven patients received placebo, and nine patients received misoprostol. Mean radiation proctitis symptom scores in the placebo group were 4.86, 5.86, 5.71, and 3.83 at 4, 8, 12, and 36 wk, respectively. The mean scores in the misoprostol group were 0.78, 0.67, 0.33, and 0.37 at 4, 8, 12, and 36 wk, respectively. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant (p < 0.05) at 4, 8, 12, and 36 wk.
Conclusion: Misoprostol rectal suppositories significantly reduce acute and chronic radiation proctitis symptoms in patients receiving radiation therapy for prostate cancer.