Membrane temperature offers clue to oral mucositis risk in head and neck cancer

Share this article:

Thermal imaging can detect small and early changes in the temperature of mucosal surfaces that may signal the development of mucositis in persons with head and neck cancer who are receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy, according to the results of a pilot study. These mouth sores are a common, painful, and potentially very severe side effect of chemoradiotherapy for patients with this form of cancer, but perhaps could be avoided or minimized if clinicians could predict which patients were at greatest risk.

The pilot study involved 34 participants. All had locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity or oropharynx, and all received baseline and weekly thermal imaging while undergoing identical chemoradiotherapy regimens. 

As lead author Ezra Cohen, MD, codirector of the head and neck cancer program at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues reported at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, held January 26-28, 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona (https://www.astro.org/uploadedFiles/Main_Site/News_and_Media/Media_Resources/Press_Kits/122_Cohen.pdf), 53% of the participants developed grade 3 mucositis and 21% developed grade 3 dermatitis. All patients displayed an increase in temperature of oral mucous membranes within the radiation field.

The investigators observed a statistically significant positive association between an early rise in a reference area and mucositis grade. For every 1°C increase in temperature in the reference area, there was a 0.157 increase in average subsequent mucositis grade.

Cohen's team concluded that larger studies are needed to evaluate whether this tool can help predict which patients are in need of early intervention to prevent acute complications.

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Web Exclusives

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings

GET FULL LISTINGS OF TREATMENT Regimens and Drug INFORMATION

Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs

More in Web Exclusives

Landmark Medicare law had little impact on reducing chemotherapy cost

Legislation passed in 2003 intended to slow the spiraling costs of drugs paid for by the federal government to treat Medicare patients has not proved to be a success.

Follow-up colonoscopies too frequent and overused by endoscopists

A retrospective study has uncovered an overuse of colonoscopies for colorectal cancer screening and surveillance.

Current therapy for hypothyroidism endorsed by new guidelines

A recent review has found insufficient consistent data exist to recommend a change in use of levothyroxine as the only drug needed to treat hypothyroidism.