An observational trial to establish the effect of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on pelvic late radiation tissue injury due to radiotherapy

Bladder Cancer

Diving Hyperb Med. 2020 Sep 30;50(3):250-255. doi: 10.28920/dhm50.3.250-255.


INTRODUCTION: Rates of pelvic cancer are growing globally with around half of these patients receiving radiotherapy. In a small proportion, radiotherapy results in significant late radiation tissue injury (LRTI) to surrounding tissue, most commonly affecting the bladder and bowel mucosa. We conducted a combined prospective and retrospective observational trial to establish the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) in improving the symptoms and signs of LRTI in these patients.

METHODS: Fifty-two patients were included after receiving radiotherapy for cancers of the bowel, bladder, cervix, prostate or vulva. They received HBOT at 203-243 kPa (2.0-2.4 atmospheres absolute (atm abs)) for 90 minutes with the median number of treatments being 30 (IQR 1). Late effects normal tissues - subjective, objective, management, analytic (LENT-SOMA) scores were recorded before and after treatment.

RESULTS: The mean LENT-SOMA scores before and after HBOT were 11.7 (SD 5.3) and 8.1 (5.1) respectively. This reduction in score of 3.7 (95% CI 2.6 to 4.8) was statistically significant (P < 0.001). For radiation cystitis the mean reduction was 3.7 (95% CI 2.4 to 5.0, P < 0.001) and for radiation proctitis was 3.8 (95% CI 1.4 to 6.1, P = 0.004). There were no significant adverse effects recorded.

CONCLUSIONS: Hyperbaric oxygen treatment may be an effective and safe treatment for pelvic late tissue radiation injury.