Review of preclinical studies on treatment of mucositis and associated pain

J Dent Res. 2014 Sep;93(9):868-75. doi: 10.1177/0022034514540174. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


Oral mucositis is a significant problem in cancer patients treated with radiation or chemotherapy, often hindering definitive cancer treatment. For patients with oral mucositis, pain is the most distressing symptom, leading to loss of orofacial function and poor quality of life. While oral mucositis has been well-described, its pathophysiology is poorly understood. Oral health professionals treating patients with mucositis have almost no effective therapies to treat or prevent oral mucositis. The purpose of this review is to (1) describe the current preclinical models of oral mucositis and their contribution to the understanding of mucositis pathophysiology, (2) explore preclinical studies on therapies targeting mucositis and discuss the clinical trials that have resulted from these preclinical studies, and (3) describe the proposed pathophysiology of oral mucositis pain and preclinical modeling of oral mucositis pain.

Keywords: cancer complications; cancer symptoms; mucositis models; mucositis treatment; oral pain; stomatitis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy
  • Neuralgia / physiopathology
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Stomatitis / physiopathology
  • Stomatitis / therapy*


  • Analgesics