Does low-level laser therapy affect the survival of patients with head and neck cancer?

Abstract

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is used in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) for treatment-related mucositis. There is conflicting evidence as to whether LLLT leads to the proliferation of tumor cells and whether it interferes with the tumoricidal effect of radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy, if the tumor lies within the LLLT field. Using fuzzy matching, 126 HNC patients who had received LLLT including the tumor region and 126 matching HNC patients without LLLT (controls) treated at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Medical University of Innsbruck, were identified. The overall survival was compared using the Kaplan–Meier analysis. Fuzzy matching yielded 2 patient samples well comparable in terms of risk of death. The survival did not significantly differ between patients with and without LLLT (p = 0.18). An increased risk of death in HNC patients who received LLLT covering the tumor region was not observed in our study.

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Correspondence to Barbara Kofler.

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Fischlechner, R., Kofler, B., Schartinger, V. et al. Does low-level laser therapy affect the survival of patients with head and neck cancer?. Lasers Med Sci (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10103-020-03073-4

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Keywords

  • Low-level laser therapy
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Mucositis
  • Wound healing