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Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2012:545-51. doi: 10.14694/EdBook_AM.2012.32.545.

New frontiers in mucositis.

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From the Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT; University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia; Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Biomodels, LLC, Boston, MA.


Mucositis is among the most debilitating side effects of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted anticancer therapy. Research continues to escalate regarding key issues such as etiopathology, incidence and severity across different mucosae, relationships between mucosal and nonmucosal toxicities, and risk factors. This approach is being translated into enhanced management strategies. Recent technology advances provide an important foundation for this continuum. For example, evolution of applied genomics is fostering development of new algorithms to rapidly screen genomewide single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for patient-associated risk prediction. This modeling will permit individual tailoring of the most effective, least toxic treatment in the future. The evolution of novel cancer therapeutics is changing the mucositis toxicity profile. These agents can be associated with unique mechanisms of mucosal damage. Additional research is needed to optimally manage toxicity caused by agents such as mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, without reducing antitumor effect. There has similarly been heightened attention across the health professions regarding clinical practice guidelines for mucositis management in the years following the first published guidelines in 2004. New opportunities exist to more effectively interface this collective guideline portfolio by capitalizing upon novel technologies such as an Internet-based Wiki platform. Substantive progress thus continues across many domains associated with mucosal injury in oncology patients. In addition to enhancing oncology patient care, these advances are being integrated into high-impact educational and scientific venues including the National Cancer Institute Physician Data Query (PDQ) portfolio as well as a new Gordon Research Conference on mucosal health and disease scheduled for June 2013.

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