A world first: preventing skin reactions during radiation therapy

A study published in the Radiotherapy & Oncology Journal has shown that the use of Mepitel Film® dressings prevents the development of moist desquamation: painful skin ulcerations associated with breast cancer radiation therapy.  The study also found that the same dressing reduced the overall severity of skin reactions such as itching and irritation by 92%.   

Radiation-induced skin reactions occur in 80-90% of breast cancer patients and can range from mild redness to ulceration, with symptoms of pain, burning and itchiness.  This can have a very negative impact on day to day life for patients, who already have to cope with being diagnosed with and treated for cancer. 

Until now, creams, gels and dressings have been used to reduce these severe side effects, but none have been able to completely prevent them. 

A study conducted in New Zealand has shown that the use of MepitelFilm, a thin, transparent dressing using Mölnlycke Health Care’s Safetac®technology, before, during and after radiation therapy, prevents the development of moist desquamation and reduces the severity of other skin reactions.

78 patients undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer took part in the trial.  Each patient’s irradiated skin area was divided into two halves, with Mepitel Film used on one side and aqueous cream on the other.  The study found that there were no cases of ulceration or severe skin reactions on the skin under Mepitel Film, whilst cream-treated skin developed these wounds in 26% of patients.  In addition, the skin reactions that did develop under Mepitel Film were 92% less severe than in the cream-treated control group.

Dr. Patries Herst, a senior lecturer at the Department of Radiation Therapy at the University of Otago and principal investigator for the trial, said:  

“I am absolutely delighted with the results!  We finally have a product that really works; this is fantastic news for cancer patients.”

Phil Cooper, President of Mölnlycke Health Care’s Wound Care Division, said:

“The dermatological side effects associated with radiation therapy can be very severe.  Not only do they cause physical suffering, but also impact the lives of patients, limiting the clothes they can wear and activities they can engage in. 

“By using a transparent, thin and pain-free dressing, patients can drastically improve their quality of life during and after treatment.  I know I speak on behalf of all of my colleagues when I say that we are very proud to be involved in making that possible.”   

1. Herst PM et al. Prophylactic use of Mepitel Film prevents radiation-induced moist desquamation in an intra-patient randomised controlled clinical trial of 78 breast cancer patients. Radiother Oncol (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radonc.2014.01.005

2. Wells M (2003) Radiation skin reactions. Faithfull S (Ed) Supportive care in radiotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone 135-159.

Theo Kjellberg
+46 (0)31 352 3651 

Mölnlycke Health Care is a world leading manufacturer of wound care and single-use surgical products and a service provider to the healthcare sector.

Headquartered in Göteborg, Sweden, Mölnlycke Health Care’s history dates back to 1849, when it was founded as a textile manufacturer.  The Company became independent in 1997 and since 2007 is majority-owned by Investor AB.  The Company has over 7,400 employees across over 30 countries. 

The Wound Care Division offers gentle and effective wound care solutions. Featured products include those with the unique and patented Safetac®technology that reduce unnecessary suffering during a patient’s wound healing journey. Safetac®is available exclusively on Mepitel®, Mepilex®and other selected dressings.



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We finally have a product that really works; this is fantastic news for cancer patients.
Dr. Patries Herst