Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 1053–1062 | Cite as

Efficacy of low-level laser for treatment of cancer oral mucositis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Fernando AnschauEmail author
  • Jacqueline Webster
  • Marcelo Eduardo Zanella Capra
  • André Luis Ferreira de Azeredo da Silva
  • Airton Tetelbom Stein
Review Article


Review effectiveness of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in the curative treatment of oral mucositis (OM) in patients receiving cancer therapy. A systematic review with meta-analysis was performed using Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases according to PRISMA guidelines, to identify randomized controlled trials (RCT) on OM in patients during and/or after cancer therapy and in which the therapeutic approach was LLLT, with wavelengths between 632 and 970 nm. We considered grade of OM as a dichotomous variable (such as an improvement or not in severe OM on the seventh day of therapy), with the analysis of subgroups of adult patients or children and adolescents and as a continuous variable with determination of the time for the complete resolution and the subgroup analysis occurred with the strata of the samples by treatment only with chemotherapy or chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This paper’s protocol was registered a priori at We found five RCT (total of 315 patients) with adequate methodology. LLLT was effective, presenting a 62% risk reduction of severe mucositis on the seventh day of evaluation (RR = 0.38 [95% CI, 0.19–0.75]). When we analyzed subgroups, RR was 0.28 (95% CI 0.17–0.46) in the adult studies and 0.90 (95% CI, 0.46–1.78) in the studies with children and adolescents. We demonstrated a mean reduction of 4.21 days in the time of complete resolution of OM (CI − 5.65 to − 2.76) in favor of LLLT. There is moderate evidence that LLLT is effective in resolving OM lesions in adult patients undergoing cancer therapy. LLLT demonstrates potential for decreasing the resolution time of OM lesions by approximately 4.21 days.


Low-level light therapy Low-level laser therapy Oral mucositis Cancer therapy Therapeutics 



This study is part of activities of the Post-Graduation Program in Health Technology Assessment of the School of the Hospitalar Conceição Group, with no external sources of funding.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduation Program on Evaluation and Production of Technologies for the Brazilian National Health SystemHospital Nossa Senhora da ConceiçãoPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Escola de MedicinaPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Hospital de Clínicas de Porto AlegrePorto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Public HealthUniversidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto AlegrePorto AlegreBrazil

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