Purpose: This systematic review analyzed the strength of the literature and defined clinical practice guidelines for the use of oral cryotherapy for the prevention and/or treatment of oral mucositis caused by cancer therapy.
Methods: A systematic review on relevant oral cryotherapy studies indexed prior to 31 December 2010 was conducted by the Mucositis Study Group of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society for Oral Oncology (MASCC/ISOO) using OVID/MEDLINE, with publications selected for review based on defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Findings from the reviewed studies were integrated into guidelines based on the overall level of evidence for each intervention. Guidelines were classified into three types: recommendation, suggestion, or no guideline possible.
Results: Twenty-two clinical studies and two meta-analyses were analyzed. Results were compared with the MASCC/ISOO guidelines published in 2007. The recommendation for the use of oral cryotherapy to prevent oral mucositis in patients receiving bolus fluorouracil (5-FU) was maintained, in agreement with the 2007 guidelines. A suggestion for use of oral cryotherapy to prevent oral mucositis in patients receiving high-dose melphalan as conditioning regimen with or without total body irradiation for HCST was revised from the 2007 guidelines. No guideline was possible for any other intervention, due to insufficient evidence.
Conclusions: The evidence continues to support the use of oral cryotherapy for prevention of oral mucositis in patients receiving bolus 5-FU chemotherapy or high-dose melphalan. This intervention is consistent with the MASCC/ISOO guidelines published in 2007. The literature is limited by the fact that utilization of a double-blind study design is not feasible. Future studies that compare efficacy of oral cryotherapy with other mucositis agents in patients receiving chemotherapy with relatively short plasma half-lives would be useful.