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J Oral Pathol Med. 2019 Jun 7. doi: 10.1111/jop.12901. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of oral supplementation in the management of oral mucositis in cancer patients: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.

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Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Oncology Research, School of Health Sciences, University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil.
Laboratory of Oral Histopathology, School of Health Sciences, University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil.
Brazilian Centre for Evidence Based Research, Department of Dentistry, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil.



To evaluate the effects of oral supplementation on the management of oral mucositis in patients with cancer undergoing chemo and/or radiation therapy.


This is a systematic review and meta-analysis. The search was performed at 6 databases, and in the gray literature. Methodology of included studies was evaluated by the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Tool, and evidence quality was assessed by GRADE instrument.


Twelve randomized clinical trials were included in this review. The oral supplementation used was an oral elemental diet with amino acids and minerals (elental), glutamine, and zinc. The majority of the studies included in this review showed benefits in delaying the occurrence of OM by using glutamine and zinc, and in reducing the severity of OM with glutamine, zinc, and elental in patients receiving chemoradiotherapy. The meta-analysis showed that the risk of oral mucositis in the zinc group was slightly lower than in the control (RR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.53-0.96, P = 0.02, n = 982) while the glutamine group presented the same risk as the control (RR: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.78-1.05, P = 0.19, n = 314). The evidence quality suggested low confidence for zinc and glutamine studies in the estimated effect from the outcomes assessed.


Zinc is a promising strategy in the management of oral mucositis since it delayed the occurrence and reduced its severity. Glutamine and Elental, on the other hand, had no strong evidence in the prevention and/or treatment of oral mucositis in patients with cancer.


meta-analysis; oral mucositis; oral supplementation; systematic review


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