Low-level laser therapy in the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2020 Oct;130(4):387-397.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2020.05.014. Epub 2020 Jun 5.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether prophylactic and therapeutic low-level laser therapy (LLLT), compared with placebo or no therapy, reduced the risk of severe oral mucositis (OM) in patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Study design: We searched for articles published on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, and Clinical Trials, until December 2018. RCTs were filtered on the basis of eligibility criteria, and data were analyzed by using R software 3.5.2.

Results: Overall, 30 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Prophylactic LLLT reduced the overall risk of severe OM (relative risk [RR] = 0.40; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.28-0.57; P < .01). Therapeutic LLLT substantially reduced the duration of severe OM (P < .01). LLLT also reduced the overall mean grade of OM, overall incidence of severe pain, mean score of pain, and incidence of severe OM, at the most anticipated time.

Conclusions: Prophylactic and therapeutic LLLT can reduce the risk of severe OM in patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Stomatitis* / etiology
  • Stomatitis* / prevention & control