A worldwide coalition of researchers and clinicians has agreed that light therapy is among the most effective interventions for the prevention of oral mucositis, painful ulcers in the mouth resulting from cancer therapy.
The new guidelines from the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) and International Society of Oral Oncology (ISOO), published on July 8 in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer, present a significant upgrade in care guidelines for adult cancer patients worldwide.
The guidelines recommend photobiomodulation therapy, a form of low-dose light therapy, for the prevention of oral mucositis caused by radiation therapy for head and neck cancer or stem cell transplantation.
“Many cancer patients can now benefit from this treatment, said Praveen Arany, DDS, Ph.D., co-corresponding author on the paper and assistant professor of oral biology at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine.
“The staggering breadth of clinical application for photobiomodulation therapy has been both a boon and a bane for the field. Several anecdotal clinical reports have been plagued with inconsistent outcomes and questionable rationales, often relegating this treatment to a pseudoscience.”
Arany also said recent advancements are enabling rigorous validation of clinical protocols.
“This is a major milestone for the field and we are confident it will set a clear path for several exciting clinical applications for photobiomodulation therapy from concussions and wound healing to exciting new work with regenerative medicine and stem cells,” said Arany, who is president of the World Association for photobiomoduLation Therapy (WALT).
Multiple studies have found that patients report oral mucositis as the worst side effect of their cancer treatment. Pain from the condition can slow or delay cancer treatment, and in severe cases require hospitalization.