Table 6

Therapeutic options for radiation-induced rectal bleeding

Treatment modalityComments
Medical therapies
Sucralfate enemas1 RCT,101 several case series
Metronidazole1 RCT102 used for 4 weeks in combination with corticosteroids and mesalazine (these last two agents probably ineffective if used alone). Possibly contraindicated if patient has already developed chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
Vitamin A (retinol palmitate)1 small RCT103 and no endoscopic assessment performed
SulfasalazineCase series
ThalidomideCase report
Short chain fatty acidsInconclusive RCT115
Rebampide enema therapyCase series (not available in the UK)
Other therapies
Hyperbaric oxygen treatmentI RCT,42 several case series
Endoscopic laser ablationMultiple case series, different lasers used.
Endoscopic argon plasma coagulationMultiple case series, serious complication rate 7-26%
Endoscopic formalin applicationMultiple case series, outcomes poorly assessed
Surgical application of formalinMultiple case series, outcomes poorly assessed
  • Other references.6 7 116

  • RCT, randomised controlled trial.