Prevalence of oral side effects of chemotherapy and its relationship with periodontal risk: a cross sectional study

  • B. García-Chías
  • E. FigueroEmail author
  • B. Castelo-Fernández
  • J. L. Cebrián-Carretero
  • R. Cerero-Lapiedra
Original Article



To determine the prevalence of professionally reported oral side effects of chemotherapy and the self-reported oral side effects and whether both prevalences could be related to the periodontal risk of the patients.


A cross-sectional study with patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment was carried out. Demographic, oral hygiene habits, and cancer-related data were collected while the patient was receiving the chemotherapy infusion. Patient’s oral status, measured according to the oral-assessment guide for patients in hospital environments, patient-related outcomes (PROMs), measured by a visual analogue scale, and patient’s periodontal risk were analyzed using validated questionnaires. Data was reported in means and standard deviations (SD) in quantitative variables and in counts, prevalence, and 95% confidence intervals (CI) in qualitative variables. ANOVA test and chi-squared tests were used to compare oral side effects among different periodontal risk groups.


Three hundred sixty-nine patients were included in the study. The prevalence of professionally reported oral side effects was 86.99% (95% confidence interval CI 83.54%; 90.44%). The prevalence of self-reported oral side effects was 89.70% (95% CI 86.59; 92.82). The most common oral side effects were xerostomia (73.4%), dysgeusia (61.8%), and dry lips (54.2%). More oral alterations were found in patients with worse periodontal risk (p < 0.001).


The prevalence of oral side effects (professional or self-reported) is higher than 85% in patients undergoing chemotherapy. This prevalence increases as the risk of developing periodontal disease does.


Chemotherapy Oral side effects Xerostomia Dysgeusia Periodontal risk 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

“All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.”

Informed consent

Informed consent was signed by all the participants in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. García-Chías
    • 1
  • E. Figuero
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • B. Castelo-Fernández
    • 3
  • J. L. Cebrián-Carretero
    • 4
  • R. Cerero-Lapiedra
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dental Clinical Specialties, Faculty of DentistryUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.ETEP (Etiology and Therapy of Periodontal Diseases) Research Group. Faculty of DentistryUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Medical Oncology, University Hospital La PazAutonoma University MadridMadridSpain
  4. 4.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, La Paz University HospitalAutonoma University MadridMadridSpain

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