This study was designed to determine the effect of Calendula officinalis flowers extract mouthwash as oral gel on radiation-induced oropharyngeal mucositis (OM) in patients with head-and-neck cancer. Forty patients with neck and head cancers under radiotherapy or concurrent chemoradiotherapy protocols were randomly assigned to receive either 2% calendula extract mouthwash or placebo (20 patients in each group). Patients were treated with telecobalt radiotherapy at conventional fractionation (200 cGy/fraction, five fractions weekly, 30-35 fractions within 4-7 weeks). The oropharyngeal mucositis was evaluated by two clinical investigators (a radiation oncologist and a dentist), using the oral mucositis assessment scale (OMAS). Trying to find out the possible mechanism of action of the treatment, total antioxidant, polyphenol and flavonoid contents, and quercetin concentration of the mouth wash were measured. Calendula mouthwash significantly decreased the intensity of OM compared to placebo at week 2 (score: 5.5 vs. 6.8, p = 0.019), week 3 (score: 8.25 vs. 10.95, p < 0.0001) and week 6 (score: 11.4 vs. 13.35, p = 0.031). Total antioxidant, polyphenol and flavonoid contents and quercetin concentration of the 2% extract were 2353.4 ± 56.5 μM, 313.40 ± 6.52 mg/g, 76.66 ± 23.24 mg/g, and 19.41 ± 4.34 mg/l, respectively. Calendula extract gel could be effective on decreasing the intensity of radiotherapy- induced OM during the treatment and antioxidant capacity may be partly responsible for the effect.
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health