Purpose: To evaluate prospectively the effect of sodium butyrate enemas on the treatment of acute and the potential influence on late radiation-induced proctitis.
Patients and methods: 31 patients had been treated with sodium butyrate enemas for radiation-induced acute grade II proctitis which had developed after 40 Gy in median. During irradiation the toxicity was evaluated weekly by the Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) and subsequently yearly by the RTOG (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group) and LENT-SOMA scale.
Results: 23 of 31 patients (74%) experienced a decrease of CTC grade within 8 days on median. A statistical significant difference between the incidence and the severity of proctitis before start of treatment with sodium butyrate enemas compared to 14 days later and compared to the end of irradiation treatment course, respectively, was found. The median follow-up was 50 months. Twenty patients were recorded as suffering from no late proctitis symptom. Eleven patients suffered from grade I and 2 of these patients from grade II toxicity, too. No correlation was seen between the efficacy of butyrate enemas on acute proctitis and prevention or development of late toxicity, respectively.
Conclusion: Sodium butyrate enemas are effective in the treatment of acute radiation-induced proctitis in patients with prostate cancer but have no impact on the incidence and severity of late proctitis.