Background: This study assessed the use of low-energy laser in the prevention or reduction of the severity of oral mucositis.
Procedure: A randomized clinical trial was carried out. Patients from 3 to 18 years of age treated with chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation between May, 2003 and February, 2005 were eligible. The intervention group received laser application for 5 days following the start of chemotherapy. The grade of oral mucositis was assessed by the WHO per NCI-CTC common toxicity criteria and the assessments were made on days 1, 8 and 15 by a trained examiner blind to the intervention.
Results: Sixty patients were evaluable for analysis; thirty-nine (65%) were males, 35 (58%) patients had a diagnosis of leukemia or lymphoma, and 25 (42%) had solid tumors. The mean age was 8.7 +/- 4.3 years. Twenty-nine patients were randomized in the laser group and 31 in the control group. On day 1, no patients presented with mucositis. On day 8, of 20 patients (36%) who developed mucositis, 13 of them were from the laser group and 7 from the control group. On day 15, of 24 patients (41%) who developed mucositis, 13 of them were from the laser group and 11 from the control group. There was no significant difference between groups concerning the grades of mucositis on day 8 (P = 0.234) or on day 15 (P = 0.208).
Conclusions: This study showed no evidence of benefit from the prophylactic use of low-energy laser in children and adolescents with cancer treated with chemotherapy when optimal dental and oral care was provided.