Polaprezinc (PZ), an antiulcer drug, has been reported to have antioxidant properties. The aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of administering PZ for radiation-induced mucositis in head and neck cancer patients. Patients with newly diagnosed head and neck cancer were enrolled in this prospective study. PZ was prepared as an oral rinse. The PZ oral rinse was used four times per day during the course of radiotherapy. Sequential changes in radiation mucositis were assessed during and after radiotherapy according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, version 3.0. Furthermore, a retrospective comparison analysis was performed to assess the efficacy of PZ for radiation-induced mucositis. A total of 32 patients were enrolled in the prospective study of the PZ oral rinse. Radiotherapy was performed up to a total dose of 60-66 Gy using a conventional schedule combined with chemotherapy. Of the 32 patients, 30 (93.8%) reported no complaints due to the PZ oral rinse. In addition, PZ was not associated with severe adverse effects. Among the patients who received PZ, grade 3 mucositis was observed in 29.0% based on the mucosal findings and in 39.3% based on the symptoms. In the patients who did not receive PZ, the incidence of grade 3 mucositis was 40.0% based on the mucosal findings and 60.7% based on the symptoms. Moreover, PZ promoted the recovery from mucositis caused by chemoradiotherapy and was not associated with reduced tumor response to radiotherapy. Therefore, the PZ oral rinse was well tolerated and proved to be efficient for the treatment of radiotherapy-induced oral mucositis.
Keywords: head and neck cancer; mucositis; oral rinse; polaprezinc; radiotherapy.