Supportive care of cancer patients with a self-applied photobiomodulation device: a case series

Support Care Cancer. 2021 Aug;29(8):4743-4749. doi: 10.1007/s00520-021-06027-w. Epub 2021 Jan 30.


Purpose: Oral mucositis (OM) and prolonged wound healing are common side-effects of cancer treatments. Photobiomodulation (PBM), previously called low-level laser, is currently part of the official guideline for OM prevention. However, all the PBM protocols relate to office-based devices, operated by professional health caregivers, requiring frequent applications. In the following case series, we present our experience with a self-applied consumer home-use PBM device for supportive care.

Methods: Five patients receiving cancer treatment presented at the clinic (female:male 3:2, 55-76 years old) with OM grade 3/4 (n=2), post-surgical non-healing wounds (n=3), and dermatitis (n=1). The PBM treatment (808 nm, 250 mW peak power, 15KHz, 5 J/min, ray size 4.5×1.0cm2) was self-applied by the patients. The protocol included extra/intra-oral applications, over the wound bed/margins and adjacent lymph nodes.

Results: The treatment was found effective for resolving OM with rapid pain relief and accelerated healing in post-operative wounds and dermatitis, without reported adverse events. Patients found routine easy to follow and painless, and the protocol was easily integrated as an adjuvant treatment to standard care at the clinic or home while not requiring additional time from the staff.

Conclusions: Side-effects induced by cancer therapy have a detrimental effect on the patient's well-being and may delay or even prevent the patients from completing treatment regimens. PBM is already an established tool for supportive treatment in cancer patients. The advent of a self-applied personal PBM treatment with easy-to-apply protocols for a variety of side-effects makes this technology an important accessible and safe supportive care option.

Keywords: Case report; Dehiscence, Oral mucositis; Home-use; Low-level laser; Photobiomodulation; Supportive care.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Stomatitis / prevention & control*