Low-level laser therapy in the prevention and treatment of cancer therapy-induced mucositis: 2012 state of the art based on literature review and meta-analysis

Curr Opin Oncol. 2012 Jul;24(4):363-70. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0b013e328352eaa3.

Bensadoun RJ1, Nair RG.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To discuss the promising state of the art low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for preventive and therapeutic usage in oral mucositis due to cancer therapy.

RECENT FINDINGS: Photomedicine using LLLT is very effective with intraoral and extraoral devices in the management of oral mucositis, based on several studies including randomized control studies. A systematic review identified 33 relevant articles that were subjected to meta-analysis based on which laser parameters in routine practice are being defined. Meta-analysis showed that LLLT reduced risk of oral mucositis with relative risk (RR) 2.45 [confidence interval (CI) 1.85-3.18], reduced duration, severity of oral mucositis and reduced number of days with oral mucositis (4.38 days, P = 0.0009). RR was similar between the red (630-670 nm) and infrared (780-830 nm) LLLT. Pain-relieving effect based on the Cohen scale was at 1.22 (CI 0.19-2.25).

SUMMARY: No adverse side effects of LLLT were reported; hence, we recommend red or infrared LLLT with diode output between 10-100 mW, dose of 2-3 J/cm2/cm2 for prophylaxis and 4 J/cm2 (maximum limit) for therapeutic effect, application on single spot rather than scanning motion. Lesions must be evaluated by a trained clinician and therapy should be repeated daily or every other day or a minimum of three times per week until resolution. There is moderate-to-strong evidence in favor of LLLT at optimal doses as a well tolerated, relatively inexpensive intervention for cancer therapy-induced oral mucositis. It is envisaged that LLLT will soon become part of routine oral supportive care in cancer.

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