Cochrane Summaries

Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

Topical agents and dressings for fungating wounds (ulcers caused by cancer)

Adderley UJ, Smith R
Published Online: 
16 March 2011

Fungating wounds sometimes occur in people with advanced cancer. Care usually aims to slow down disease progression, and improve quality of life by relieving the physical symptoms caused by the wounds (leakage, bad smell, pain and the risk of haemorrhage) by means of appropriate dressings and other applied treatments. There is weak evidence to suggest that a 6% solution of miltefosine, applied as a fluid to small, superficial fungating wounds on the breast (in people with breast cancer who had previously had either radiotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy or chemotherapy) may slow down the progression of the disease (i.e. extend the time to disease progression). There is very little evidence in this area of medicine, however, and what there is is insufficient to direct practice for improving quality of life or managing wound symptoms in people with fungating wounds. More research is needed in this area.