Management of oral mucositis in patients who have cancer

Dent Clin North Am. 2008 Jan;52(1):61-77, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2007.10.002.


Oral mucositis is a clinically important and sometimes dose-limiting complication of cancer therapy. Mucositis lesions can be painful, affect nutrition and quality of life, and have a significant economic impact. The pathogenesis of oral mucositis is multifactorial and complex. This review discusses the morbidity, economic impact, pathogenesis and clinical course of mucositis. Current clinical management of oral mucositis is largely focused on palliative measures such as pain management, nutritional support and maintenance of good oral hygiene. However, several promising therapeutic agents are in various stages of clinical development for the management of oral mucositis. These agents are discussed in the context of recently updated evidence-based clinical management guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Facial Pain / etiology
  • Facial Pain / therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Mouth Mucosa / drug effects
  • Mouth Mucosa / radiation effects
  • Oral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Oral Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Radiation Injuries / therapy*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Stomatitis / etiology
  • Stomatitis / therapy*
  • Xerostomia / etiology
  • Xerostomia / therapy


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins