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Cancer J. 2006 Sep-Oct;12(5):348-54.

Treatment of mucositis, including new medications.

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Division of Oral Medicine, Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences and the Head and Neck/Oral Oncology Program, Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


Mucositis is a clinically important and sometimes dose-limiting complication of cancer therapy. Mucositis lesions can be painful, affect nutrition and quality of life, lead to sepsis, and have significant economic impact. Recent modeling of the toxicity has been based on the continuum of clinical signs and symptoms of mucositis involving the alimentary tract, including both oral and gastrointestinal sites. The pathogenesis of oral and gastrointestinal mucositis is multifactorial and complex. In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in both basic and clinical research related to mucosal injury in cancer patients. Since most of this research has been directed to oral mucositis, the present review principally addresses this component of the toxicity. Morbidity, economic impact, pathogenesis and clinical course of mucositis are discussed. In addition, several agents in clinical development for mucositis are discussed in the context of the current pathobiologic model as well as the recently updated evidence-based clinical management guidelines.

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