The Chicken or the Egg? Changes in Oral Microbiota as Cause or Consequence of Mucositis During Radiation Therapy

AuthorsStephen Sonis
PublishedApril 01, 2017


Oral mucositis remains one of the most dominant, serious, disruptive, and symptomatic complications of radiation therapy used for the treatment of cancers of the head and neck (Villa and Sonis, 2015).  Progressive mucosal injury accompanies increasing daily radiation fractions until confluent, deep, ulceration develops in the majority of patients, and the lack of an effective intervention is one of the biggest clinical frustrations for healthcare professionals charged with caring for them.  Given the breadth of microbial colonization in the oral cavity, a role for the oral microbiome in altering the risk or course of mucositis has been suspected for years.

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