To systematically review and critically appraise the evidence for effectiveness of Aloe vera gel for radiation-induced skin reactions.
Materials and methods:
Major biomedical databases and specialist complementary and alternative medicine databases were searched. Additionally, efforts were made to identify unpublished and ongoing research. Relevant research was systematically categorised by study type and appraised according to study design. Clinical commentaries were obtained for each study included in the review.
One earlier systematic review on Aloe vera for a variety of conditions was located. Five published randomised-controlled trials (RCTs) were found, along with two additional RCTs that are not published. No non-RCTs, uncontrolled studies or qualitative studies were found.
There is no evidence from clinical trials to suggest that topical Aloe vera is effective in preventing or minimising radiation-induced skin reactions in cancer patients. Further methodologically rigorous, sufficiently powered research studies should be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of currently used and novel therapies for the prevention, minimisation and management of radiation-induced skin reactions.