People receiving concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) for cancer of the head and neck often develop oral mucositis (OM). OM often causes significant pain which can interfere with oral function and nutrition; these problems can be so severe they lead to treatment discontinuing. To date, no methods of treating or preventing OM have been found.
A study of the effects of LLLT on OM was published in the September issue of Radiotherapy and Oncology. Researchers from Manipal University in Udupi, India conducted a triple blinded randomized control trial to determine if prophylactic LLLT might be an effective treatment for OM.
221 patients scheduled to undergo CCRT participated in the study. CCRT was Cisplatin (1, 22, 43day)+RT=66 Grays (2Gy/fraction), 33 fractions, 5 fractions/week, scheduled for 45 days. The patients were block randomized into two groups, one receiving laser therapy and one a placebo. The laser therapy group received HeNe, ÃŽÂ»=632.8nm, power-density=24mW, dosage=3.0J/point, total dosage/session=36-40J, spot-size=1cm(2), 5 sessions/week. Results were rated based on oral pain, dysphagia, weight loss and discontinuation of CCRT. Researchers analyzed their data with frequencies and percentage, generalized estimating equations (GEE) and odds ratio.
Researchers found that severe OM was significantly reduced for the LLLT treatment group. Pain, weight loss, and use of opioids were also significantly reduced compared to the placebo group. The study is a strong addition to the existing body of research supporting the benefits of LLLT in treating or preventing OM.