Black Cumin Seed Gel Decreases the Severity of Acute Radiation Dermatitis

OBJECTIVE: The present study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of Nigella sativa L. (N. sativa) extract on preventing the incidence of acute radiation dermatitis (ARD) in breast cancer patients.

METHODS: Sixty-two breast cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy (RT) were randomly assigned to receiveN. sativa 5% gel or placebo. Patients were instructed to apply the medications twice daily during RT period. The severity of ARD, the incidence of moist desquamation, worst experienced pain, and skin-related quality of life (SRQOL) scores were assessed weekly during RT.

RESULTS: Patients who were treated with the N. sativa gel developed ARD significantly less frequently compared to those who used the placebo (p < 0.05 for all weeks except week 2, p = 0.36). The incidence time of grade 2 and 3 of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (RTOG/EORTC) toxicity was prolonged significantly with N. sativa gel as compared to placebo (35 vs. 29 days, p = 0.00 and 42 vs. 40 days, p = 0.01, respectively). Furthermore, the occurrence of moist desquamation was delayed in the N. sativa gel group compared with the placebo group (37 vs. 33 days, p = 0.01). The mean score of the worst pain that patients experienced in the placebo group was significantly higher than that of the N. sativa gel group at week 3 (2.5 ± 0.5 vs. 1.2 ± 0.3, p < 0.05). Nonetheless, the application of N. sativa gel had no significant effect on the SRQOL of patients at any week.

CONCLUSION: N. sativa extract significantly decreases the severity of ARD and delays the onset of moist desquamation in breast cancer patients.

Rafati M, et al. Nigella sativa L. for prevention of acute radiation dermatitis in breast cancer: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Dec;47:102205. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019. 102205. Epub 2019 Oct 3.