Topical dimethylsulfoxide may prevent tissue damage from anthracycline extravasation

H. Jeffrey Lawrence, Denise Walsh, Karen A. Zapotowski, Alice Denham, Scott H. Goodnight, David R. Gandara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The optimal management of anthracycline extravasation remains unclear. Traditional topical measures to reduce local tissue damage, including corticosteroids, sodium bicarbonate, and ice applications, have not consistently demonstrated beneficial effects. This report describes our experience with four adult patients who suffered anthracycline extravasation and were treated with a regimen of ice, local glucocorticoid injection, and dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) 55%-99% applied topically every 2-4h after extravasation for a minimum of 3 days. In all four cases, pain and erythema resolved within 2 days; in no case did tissue necrosis or skin ulceration occur. Topical DMSO is a safe, inexpensive agent that appears to reduce the risk of anthracycline-induced tissue damage. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal dose and schedule of DMSO application and to assess its efficacy in extravasation injuries from other vesicants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-318
Number of pages3
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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