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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 Aug 1;65(5):1330-7. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

Double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial on intravenous L-alanyl-L-glutamine in the incidence of oral mucositis following chemoradiotherapy in patients with head-and-neck cancer.

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Translational Research Unit, Instituto de Oncologia Angel H. Roffo, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



We performed this double-blinded, placebo-controlled study to determine the safety and efficacy of L-alanyl-L-glutamine in the prevention of mucositis in patients with head-and-neck cancer.


Thirty-two patients with head-and-neck cancer were treated with chemoradiotherapy (CRT) (radiotherapy daily up to 70 Gy plus cisplatin/5-fluoruracil once a week) and were asked to participate. Twenty-nine patients received the CRT schedule and were double-blindly assigned to receive either intravenous L-alanyl-L-glutamine 0.4 g/kg weight/day or an equal volume of saline (placebo) during chemotherapy days.


Fourteen patients received L-alanyl-L-glutamine and 15 received placebo. Mucositis was assessed by the Objective Mucositis Score (OMS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) grading system. There was a significant difference in incidence of mucositis developed in patients receiving placebo compared with those who received L-alanyl-L-glutamine (p = 0.035). The number of patients with severe objective mucositis (OMS >1.49) was higher in the placebo group compared with the L-alanyl-L-glutamine group (67% vs. 14%, p = 0.007). L-alanyl-L-glutamine patients experienced less pain (three highest Numeric Rating Scale scores of 1.3/10 vs. 6.3/10 respectively, p = 0.008) and need for feeding tubes (14% vs. 60% respectively, p = 0.020) compared with placebo patients. No adverse effects related to the drug or the infusions were noted in either group.


For patients with head-and-neck cancer receiving CRT, intravenous L-alanyl-L-glutamine may be an effective preventive measure to decrease the severity of mucositis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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