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Prophylaxis of radiation-associated mucositis in conventionally treated patients with head and neck cancer: a double-blind, phase III, randomized, controlled trial evaluating the clinical efficacy of an antimicrobial lozenge using a validated mucositis scoring system.

Author(s): El-Sayed S, Nabid A, Shelley W, Hay J, Balogh J, Gelinas M, MacKenzie R, Read N, Berthelet E, Lau H, Epstein J, Delvecchio P, Ganguly PK, Wong F, Burns P, Tu D, Pater J

Affiliation(s): Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. samy.el-sayed@orc.on.ca

Publication date & source: 2002-10-01, J Clin Oncol., 20(19):3956-63.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Clinical Trial, Phase III; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

PURPOSE: Mucositis occurs in almost all patients treated with radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. The aim of this multicenter, double-blind, prospective, randomized trial was to evaluate the clinical efficacy of an economically viable antimicrobial lozenge (bacitracin, clotrimazole, and gentamicin [BcoG]) in the alleviation of radiation-induced mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred thirty-seven eligible patients were randomized to treatment with either antimicrobial lozenge (69 patients) or placebo lozenge (68 patients). The primary end point of the study was the time to development of severe mucositis from the start of radiotherapy. Secondary end points included severity and duration of mucositis, pain measurement, radiation therapy interruption, and quality of life. Mucositis was scored using a validated mucositis scoring system. RESULTS: Toxicity profiles were similar between the two arms of the study. The median time to development of severe mucositis from the start of radiotherapy was 3.61 weeks on BCoG and 3.96 weeks on placebo (P =.61). There were no statistically significant differences between the arms in the extent of severe mucositis as measured by physician, in oral toxicities as recorded by patients, or in radiotherapy delays. CONCLUSION: This study was conducted on the basis of a pilot study that demonstrated the BCoG lozenge to be tolerable and microbiologically efficacious. A validated mucositis scoring system was used. However, in this group of patients treated with conventional radiotherapy, the lozenge did not impact significantly on the severity of mucositis. Whether such a lozenge would be beneficial in treatment situations where rate of severe mucositis is higher (ie, in patients treated with unconventional fractionation or with concomitant chemotherapy) is unknown.

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