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Oral Mucositis

  • Nathaniel Treister
  • Stephen Sonis*
Chapter
Part of the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series (CDD&D)

Abstract

Mucositis is a common, painful, treatment-disrupting toxicity of both radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Patients with cancers of the head and neck receiving radiation therapy with and without induction or concomitant chemotherapy, and individuals being treated with high-dose chemotherapy regimens are at particularly high risk. Importantly, even patients receiving conventional dosing schemes for other forms of cancer have a meaningful chance of developing painful lesions of the mouth and throat during their treatment. The fact that the pathobiology of mucositis is complex and multifaceted provides opportunities for mechanistically based interventions. While palifermin is the only agent currently approved for treatment, it also represents an example of other agents in development for which efficacy is based on disruption of the biological pathways leading to mucositis. This chapter discusses the clinical characteristics of mucositis, how it is evaluated and scored, its pathogenesis, and current and evolving prevention and treatment strategies.

Keywords

Oral complications Mucosal injury Radiation therapy Cancer chemotherapy Oral disease Head and neck cancer Hematopoietic cell transplantation Introduction 

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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathaniel Treister
    • 1
  • Stephen Sonis*
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surg/Oral MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard School of Dental MedicineBostonUSA

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