Late radiation tissue injury is a serious complication of radiotherapy for patients with gynecologic malignancies. Strategies for managing pain and other clinical features have limited efficacy; however, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO(2)) may be an effective option for some patients. In a systematic review of the literature, the Ovid medline, embase, Cochrane Library, National Guidelines Clearinghouse, and Canadian Medical Association Infobase databases were searched to June 2009 for clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, or other relevant evidence. Studies that did not evaluate soft tissue necrosis, cystitis, proctitis, bone necrosis, and other complications were excluded. Two randomized trials, eleven nonrandomized studies, and five supporting documents comprise the evidence base. In addition, information on the harms and safety of treatment with HBO(2) were reported in three additional sources. There is modest direct evidence and emerging indirect evidence that the use of HBO(2) is broadly effective for late radiation tissue injury of the pelvis in women treated for gynecologic malignancies. Based on the evidence and expert consensus opinion, HBO(2) is likely effective for late radiation tissue injury of the pelvis, with demonstrated efficacy specifically for radiation damage to the anus and rectum;the main indication for HBO(2) therapy in gynecologic oncology is in the management of otherwise refractory chronic radiation injury;HBO(2) may provide symptomatic benefit in certain clinical settings (for example, cystitis, soft-tissue necrosis, and osteonecrosis); andHBO(2) may reduce the complications of gynecologic surgery in patients undergoing surgical removal of necrosis.
Craighead, Shea-Budgell, Nation, Esmail, Evans, Parliament, Oliver, Hagen, (2011). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for late radiation tissue injury in gynecologic malignancies. Current oncology (Toronto, Ont.), 2011 Oct;18(5):220-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21980249