Pathobiology of mucositis

Semin Oncol Nurs. 2004 Feb;20(1):11-5. doi: 10.1053/j.soncn.2003.10.003.


Objective: To describe the pathogenesis of mucositis, summarize the techniques used to study the condition, and describe the current five-phase model that defines mucositis pathogenesis.

Data source: Published research articles, ongoing laboratory and clinical studies, and clinical experience.

Conclusion: Defining the biological mechanisms associated with mucosal injury is critical for effective intervention. Research performed over the past few years has shown that the pathobiology of mucositis is complex, and involves all of the cells and tissues of the mucosa.

Implications for nursing practice: An understanding of this evolving pathobiologic model of mucositis will enable nurses to more effectively assess and manage mucositis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Biology
  • Mouth Mucosa
  • Neoplasms* / complications
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Neutropenia / complications
  • Oncology Nursing
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomatitis / etiology*
  • Stomatitis / nursing
  • Stomatitis / pathology*
  • Wound Healing


  • Antineoplastic Agents