Oral complications of radiotherapy

Lancet Oncol. 2006 Feb;7(2):175-83. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(06)70580-0.


Radiotherapy-induced damage in the oral mucosa is the result of the deleterious effects of radiation, not only on the oral mucosa itself but also on the adjacent salivary glands, bone, dentition, and masticatory musculature and apparatus. Biological response modifiers, cytoprotective drugs, salivary-sparing radiation techniques, and surgery have been introduced to combat and, more importantly, to prevent, the development of these complications. Radiotherapy-induced oral complications are complex, dynamic pathobiological processes that lower the quality of life and predispose patients to serious clinical disorders. Here, we focus on these oral complications of radiotherapy, highlight preventive and therapeutic developments, and review the current treatment options available for these disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Jaw Diseases / etiology
  • Jaw Diseases / therapy
  • Osteoradionecrosis / etiology
  • Osteoradionecrosis / therapy
  • Radiation Injuries / complications*
  • Stomatitis / etiology
  • Stomatitis / therapy
  • Stomatognathic Diseases / etiology
  • Stomatognathic Diseases / therapy*
  • Trismus / etiology
  • Trismus / therapy
  • Xerostomia / etiology
  • Xerostomia / therapy