Topical henna for capecitabine induced hand-foot syndrome

Invest New Drugs. 2008 Apr;26(2):189-92. doi: 10.1007/s10637-007-9082-3. Epub 2007 Sep 21.


Capecitabine is a chemotherapeutic drug for use in cancers. Hand-foot syndrome (HFS) is side effect of capecitabine which can lead the cessation of the therapy or dose reduction. Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is a traditionally used plant of Middle-East that is applied on hands and feet. Some of cancer patients in capecitabine treatment who developed HFS, we recommended to apply henna. In these patients, six patients were grade 3 HFS and four were grade 2 HFS. Complete response (CR) were seen in four of grade 3 HFS and all of grade 2; two grade 3 HFS improved to grade 1. So far, in the chemotherapy, there was no need of dose reduction and also no side effect of henna seen. Clinical improvement in these patients may relate to anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic effects of henna. Prospective studies are needed to show this therapeutic effect of henna.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / adverse effects*
  • Capecitabine
  • Deoxycytidine / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / adverse effects
  • Fluorouracil / analogs & derivatives*
  • Foot Dermatoses / chemically induced
  • Foot Dermatoses / drug therapy
  • Hand Dermatoses / chemically induced
  • Hand Dermatoses / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Naphthoquinones / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Paresthesia / chemically induced
  • Paresthesia / drug therapy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Naphthoquinones
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Capecitabine
  • lawsone
  • Fluorouracil