Mechanism-based management for mucositis: Option for treating side effects without compromising the efficacy of cancer therapy

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Mucositis is a major side effect induced by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Although mucositis is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients, management is largely limited to controlling symptoms, and few therapeutic agents are available for treatment. Since mucositis could be inhibited by the modulation of radiotherapy- or chemotherapy-induced pathways independently of cancer treatment, there is an opportunity for the development of more targeted therapies and interventions. This article examined potential therapeutic agents that have been investigated for the prevention and/or inhibition of mucositis induced by conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy. They can be classified according to their mechanisms of action: scavenging reactive oxygen species, inhibition of specific cytokine production or inflammation, and inhibition of apoptosis. These early events may be good target pathways for preventing the pathogenesis of mucositis. Considering that both cancer therapy and therapeutic agents for mucositis act on both normal and cancer cells, agents that inhibit mucositis should act through mechanisms that selectively protect normal cells without compromising cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2007-2016
Number of pages10
JournalOncoTargets and Therapy
StatePublished - 5 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (2014R1A1A3050916).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Shen et al.


  • Apoptosis
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cytokine
  • Mucositis
  • Radiotherapy
  • Reactive oxygen species


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