Mucositis: The Impact, Biology and Therapeutic Opportunities of Oral Mucositis

AuthorsStephen Sonis
PublishedDecember 01, 2009
JournalOral Oncology


The history of mucositis is as old as radiation- and chemotherapy. Despite being regularly reported and documented as one of the worst side effects of cancer therapy, relatively little was appreciated about the complexities of mucositis' pathogenesis until relatively recently. More frustrating for patients and clinicians, no effective treatment existed. Fortunately, the situation is changing; ongoing research is leading to a comprehensive understanding of the biology of mucositis, which has resulted in the development of novel interventions. While the FDA's approval of palifermin in 2004 was limited to only a small percentage of the at-risk population, the fact that the first registered anti-OM agent derived its efficacy from its pleotropic activities was conceptually demonstrative of the therapeutic potential of drugs that selectively interfere with mucositis' pathogenesis. A number of eclectic molecules, all designed to interfere with pathways that lead to injury are in pre-clinical and clinical development.

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