BACKGROUND: Hand-foot syndrome (HFS) is a specific adverse effect of certain chemotherapy that may lead to dosage reduction or chemotherapy discontinuation in patients with cancer. Topical urea cream may reduce symptom severity in patients with HFS. However, these studies have not provided consonant results.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of urea cream, we conducted a meta-analysis of clinical trials to evaluate the prevention and treatment of HFS.
METHODS: PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for studies published before September 2020. The study registered at PROSPERO (CRD 42020203164). Incidence of HFS reported in studies at any grade and at second grade or greater was assessed within 3 to 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes were time to HFS, incidence of skin-related adverse events, chemotherapy dose reduction, and quality of life.
RESULTS: Seven trials involving 1387 patients were reviewed. In the prophylactic subgroup, patients with urea cream intervention showed a significantly lower incidence of HFS at second grade or greater (risk ratio, 0.72; 95% confidence interval, 0.58-0.90) and a nonsignificant lower incidence of any-grade HFS (risk ratio, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.58-1.08) than those not receiving urea cream intervention.
CONCLUSIONS: Urea cream has advantages to reduce the incidence of severe HFS.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Urea cream is a safe and viable topical prevention strategy that can reduce the incidence of high-grade HFS in patients undergoing chemotherapy. We recommend a routine treatment option before chemotherapy for the patients.