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Management of radiation therapy-induced mucositis in head and neck cancer patients. Part I: Clinical significance, pathophysiology and prevention

Wei Cheong Ngeow, Wen Lin Chai, Rosnah Binti Zain
  • Wei Cheong Ngeow
    Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia |
  • Wen Lin Chai
    Department of General Dental Practice and Oral & Maxillofacial Imaging, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Rosnah Binti Zain
    Department of Oral Pathology, Oral Medicine and Periodontology Faculty of Dentistry,University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur,


Oropharyngeal mucositis is the acute inflammatory and ulcerative reaction of the oral mucosa following radiation therapy to the head and neck region. It is such a common problem that nearly all head and neck cancer patients develop some degree of mucositis. This complication is usually transient in nature but it also represents an important clinical problem as it is a painful, debilitating, dose-dependent side effect for which there is no widely acceptable prophylaxis or effective treatment. As several authoritative groups have recently either undertaken systematic reviews or issued guidelines on the management of mucositis, it is the aim of this review to provide instead an overview of all the possible remedies available, as well as highlighting to researchers the gaps that need to be filled. The first part of this review outlines the clinical significance and pathophysiology of radiation-induced mucositis, and looks into some of the preventive approaches available.


Head and neck cancer - Radiation therapy - Mucositis - Management

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Submitted: 2011-12-14 23:06:57
Published: 2011-12-14 00:00:00
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Copyright (c) 2011 Wei Cheong Ngeow, Wen Lin Chai, Rosnah Binti Zain

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