Background: Stomatitis in cancer chemotherapy manifests with pronounced subjective symptoms, lowers the patient's quality of life (QOL) and may necessitate the discontinuation of chemotherapy. There have been few effective therapies established to date for chemotherapy-induced stomatitis.
Patients and methods: We used frozen allopurinol solution (allopurinol ice balls) in the prevention of stomatitis associated with leucovorin (LV)/5-fluorouracil (5-FU) therapy for colon cancer.
Results: Among 32 patients undergoing LV/5-FU therapy, without the use of the allopurinol ice balls, 15 patients developed stomatitis. On the other hand, only 3 patients developed stomatitis among 20 patients receiving the chemotherapy in conjunction with allopurinol ice balls (p=0.0187). Seven patients who developed stomatitis during a course of chemotherapy without allopurinol ice balls were administered the ice balls in the subsequent course; 6 of these patients responded with lessened severity of stomatitis. In 2 of these responders, stomatitis of comparable severity recurred on discontinuation of the medication.
Conclusion: Concomitant use of allopurinol ice balls is effective in preventing stomatitis in patients undergoing LV/5-FU therapy.