Radiation therapy is a standard method of cancer treatment and is widely used in clinic. However, while radiation destroys tumor cells, it will also damage normal tissue cells, which is the root cause of radiation side effects. In order to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy, the radiation range is generally controlled as much as possible, which will still cause local skin radiation damage.
The skin is an important barrier organ, for example to prevent viruses from entering the body. The skin is also the main target organ for side effects of radiation therapy. The skin damage caused by radiation is mainly direct damage, but also indirect damage. Radiation skin damage will have a specific inflammatory response, known as radiation dermatitis. Radiation dermatitis occurs in about 95% of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. Acute radiation dermatitis begins with erythema, swelling, blisters, and ulcers, then progresses to chronic inflammation, necrosis, fibrosis, and lymphedema. These performances will affect the treatment and may even prevent the treatment from proceeding normally. Most patients with head and neck cancer who receive radiation therapy are also prone to digestive glands, which can lead to dry mouth, severe mucositis, and difficulty swallowing.
These effects can lead to severe malnutrition and weight loss. In the process of receiving radiation therapy, the harmful effects of ionizing radiation on biological tissues such as skin are mainly caused by increasing the production of hydroxyl radicals. Japanese scholars have discovered that hydrogen has a selective antioxidant effect, mainly because hydrogen can neutralize hydroxyl radicals. Past studies have found that hydrogen treatment can protect cells from ionizing radiation damage in vitro. Hydrogen can also significantly increase the survival rate of animals caused by radiation. Yu Pan et al found that hydrogen treatment can effectively protect human skin fibroblasts from oxidative damage induced by high glucose and mannitol. These results indicate that hydrogen can be used as an effective radioprotectant without toxicity. No toxicity is a great advantage of radiation protection agents. This study will mainly explore the protective effect of hydrogen on radiation dermatitis and mucositis. As a result, it was found that hydrogen can have a protective effect on animal head and neck radiation dermatitis and mucositis. The study also explored the cellular and molecular basis of the effects.
This research comes from the Ship Radiation Protection Department of the Department of Naval Medicine, Second Military Medical University. The paper was published in J Dermatolog Treat in 2012. Regarding the study of hydrogen on the skin damage caused by radiation, a human test report later came from a military hospital in Qingdao and found that hydrogen water has a certain effect on preventing radiation oral ulcers. The reason is similar.
This study analyzed the protective effect of hydrogen on skin radiation damage caused by single or multiple local radiotherapy, and its possible molecular mechanism. Methods: The head and neck area received single dose or fractional irradiation of animals. The mice were injected with hydrogen solution subcutaneously before irradiation. In vitro analysis of hydrogen effects on radiation-induced cell viability, apoptosis and biochemical detection were measured. Results: Hydrogen significantly reduced radiation-induced dermatitis, accelerated tissue recovery, and reduced weight loss caused by a single dose of 15 or 20 Gy of radiation in mice. Hydrogen can also protect keratinocytes from radiation damage. The results show that hydrogen has a positive effect on acute radiation dermatitis.
Although there are many research papers on the protection of hydrogen from radiation damage, there are few evidences for human body studies, which is not conducive to clarifying the application value of hydrogen. Due to the large number of patients undergoing radiotherapy clinically, it is the most ideal way to obtain the anti-radiation effect of hydrogen for the toxic side effects of radiotherapy in these patients. The skin inflammation has the typical appearance and simple evidence, It should also be the focus of research. It is recommended that the clinical cancer radiotherapy department focus on this research direction.
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