Skip to content

    Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Oral Complications of Chemotherapy and Head/Neck Radiation (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Oral Mucositis

    The terms oral mucositis and stomatitis are often used interchangeably at the clinical level, but they do not reflect identical processes.

    Oral Mucositis:

    Recommended Related to Cancer

    General Information About Adult Primary Liver Cancer

    Incidence and Mortality Estimated new cases and deaths from liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States in 2014:[1] New cases: 33,190. Deaths: 23,000. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is relatively uncommon in the United States, although its incidence is rising, principally in relation to the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.[2] HCC is the most common solid tumor worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths.[3,4] Both local extension...

    Read the General Information About Adult Primary Liver Cancer article > >

    • Describes inflammation of oral mucosa resulting from chemotherapeutic agents or ionizing radiation.[1,2,3]
    • Typically manifests as erythema or ulcerations.
    • May be exacerbated by local factors.

    Stomatitis:

    • Refers to any inflammatory condition of oral tissue, including mucosa, dentition/periapices, and periodontium.
    • Includes infections of oral tissues as well as mucositis.

    Risk of oral mucositis has historically been characterized by treatment-based and patient-based variables.[4] The current model of oral mucositis involves a complex trajectory of molecular, cellular, and tissue-based changes. There is increasing evidence of genetic governance of this injury,[5,6,7,8] characterized in part by upregulation of nuclear factor kappa beta and inflammatory cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and interleukin-1 in addition to epithelial basal cell injury. Comprehensive knowledge of the molecular-based causation of the lesion has contributed to targeted drug development for clinical use.[9] The pipeline of new drugs in development (e.g., recombinant human intestinal trefoil factor [10] may lead to strategic new advances in the ability of clinicians to customize the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis in the future.[11]

    Erythematous mucositis typically appears 7 to 10 days after initiation of high-dose cancer therapy. Clinicians should be alert to the potential for increased toxicity with escalating dose or treatment duration in clinical trials that demonstrate gastrointestinal mucosal toxicity. High-dose chemotherapy, such as that used in the treatment of leukemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplant regimens, may produce severe mucositis. Mucositis is self-limited when uncomplicated by infection and typically heals within 2 to 4 weeks after cessation of cytotoxic chemotherapy.

    Systematic assessment of the oral cavity following treatment permits early identification of lesions.[12,13,14,15,16] Oral hygiene and other supportive care measures are important to minimizing the severity of the lesion.

    In an effort to standardize measurements of mucosal integrity, oral assessment scales have been developed to grade the level of stomatitis by characterizing alterations in lips, tongue, mucous membranes, gingiva, teeth, pharynx, quality of saliva, and voice.[12,13,14] Specific instruments of assessment have been developed to evaluate the observable and functional dimensions of mucositis. These evaluative tools vary in complexity.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man holding lung xray
    What you need to know.
    stem cells
    How they work for blood cancers.
     
    woman wearing pink ribbon
    Separate fact from fiction.
    Colorectal cancer cells
    Symptoms, screening tests, and more.
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article