Purpose: The aim of this project was to review the available literature and define clinical practice guidelines for the use of anti-inflammatory agents for the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis in cancer patients.
Materials and methods: A systematic review was conducted by the Mucositis Study Group of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology. The body of evidence for use of each intervention, in each cancer treatment setting, was assigned an evidence level. Based on the evidence level, one of the following three guideline determinations was possible: recommendation, suggestion, and no guideline possible.
Results: Forty-one papers were reviewed. There was sufficient evidence to recommend the use of benzydamine mouthwash for the prevention of oral mucositis in head and neck cancer patients receiving moderate-dose radiation therapy (up to 50 Gy), without concomitant chemotherapy. A new suggestion was developed against the use of misoprostol mouthwash for the prevention of oral mucositis in head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. Positive results were reported for some other anti-inflammatory agents. However, no guidelines were able to be developed for any other agents due to insufficient and/or conflicting evidence.
Conclusions: The use of anti-inflammatory agents continues to be a promising strategy for the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis. Additional well-designed studies are needed to examine the use of this class of agents for oral mucositis.