Prevention of oral mucositis due to 5-fluorouracil treatment with oral cryotherapy

J Natl Med Assoc. 2005 Aug;97(8):1161-4.


Introduction: One of the most common and important side effects of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is mucositis with ulcerations in the oral cavity. We investigated the effects of local cryotherapy on mucositis incidence administrated durng 5-FU treatment.

Methods: In a total of 99 courses, 5-FU and folinic acid combination chemotherapy was given to 40 patients. In our study, we considered every course as a single case, and cryotherapy was given to the same patient in one course but not given in the next.

Results: While mucositis developed in 6.7% of the courses given with cryotherapy, this ratio was 38.9% in courses given without cryotherapy. In the logistic regression analysis, development of mucositis had been found to correlate only with cryotherapy. Odds ratio (OR) = 11.5; in the 95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.2 - 41.9; (p = 0.001).

Discussion: Results of initial studies evaluating the effects of cryotherapy in preventing mucositis due to 5-FU based chemotherapy regimens were promising. We concluded that oral cooling prevents 5-FU induced mucositis. This effective prophylactic treatment should be used in patients who are at increased risk for developing 5-FU induced mucositis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cryotherapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Leucovorin / adverse effects
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / drug effects
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Stomatitis / chemically induced*
  • Stomatitis / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil