Oral mucositis: Current knowledge and future directions

Sameep S. Shetty, Meghana Maruthi, Vasantha Dhara, José Alcides Almeida de Arruda, Lucas Guimarães Abreu, Ricardo Alves Mesquita, Antonio Lucio Teixeira, Tarcília Aparecida Silva, Yash Merchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Oral mucositis secondary to head and neck chemoradiation displays a complex molecular pathogenesis involving epithelial and microvascular injury, release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and host-microbiome communications. These processes lead to oxidative stress and the release of reactive oxygen species that stifle the structural integrity of the oral mucosa, with emergence of erosions and ulcers. The consequences are malnutrition, psychological/psychiatric symptoms, poor quality of life, and occurrence of opportunistic infections. The latter pose a major challenge due to the risk of interruption of anti-neoplastic therapy, tumour recurrence and, ultimately, death. This article aims to present the clinical characteristics, molecular pathogenesis, and an overview of the predisposing factors and current management of oral mucositis. It is anticipated that the future direction of the management of oral mucositis will focus on evidence-based prehabilitation and pre- and per-chemoradiation therapy monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101300
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Head and neck cancer radiation
  • Management
  • Oral mucositis
  • Oral oncology
  • Salivary glands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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