Efficacy of topical Calendula officinalis on prevalence of radiation-induced dermatitis: a randomised controlled trial

Shihab Siddiquee, Margaret A. McGee, Andrew D. Vincent, Eileen Giles, Robyn Clothier, Scott Carruthers, Michael Penniment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: A randomised controlled trial was undertaken to compare the efficacy of topical Calendula officinalis (Calendula) versus standard of care (Sorbolene: 10% glycerine in cetomacragol cream) in reducing the prevalence of radiation-induced dermatitis in women undergoing breast cancer radiotherapy. Methods: A total of 271 women were screened and 82 were randomised. The primary outcome was prevalence of acute radiation-induced dermatitis (RTOG grade 2+) assessed at multiple skin sites. A chi-squared test was conducted for the primary outcome with a worst-case scenario imputation. Results: The recruitment target (n = 178) was not achieved. A total of n = 81 participants were analysed (n = 40 Calendula; n = 41 Sorbolene). There was no detectable difference in prevalence of radiation-induced dermatitis grade 2+ between the Calendula (53%) and Sorbolene (62%) groups (primary analysis OR = 0.87, 95% CI: [0.36, 2.09], P = 0.92; covariate adjusted complete case analysis OR 0.40, 95% CI: [0.13, 1.20], P = 0.10). Conclusion: This randomised controlled trial showed no difference between Calendula and standard of care (Sorbolene) for the prevention of radiation-induced dermatitis. However, the study was underpowered (limited recruitment) for the primary comparison.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e35-e40
JournalAustralasian Journal of Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • adjuvant
  • calendula
  • ointments/therapeutic
  • radiodermatitis
  • radiotherapy
  • randomised controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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