Interventions for preventing oral mucositis in patients with cancer receiving treatment: Cytokines and growth factors

Philip Riley (Lead / Corresponding author), Anne Marie Glenny, Helen V. Worthington, Anne Littlewood, Luisa M. Fernandez Mauleffinch, Jan E. Clarkson, Martin G. Mccabe

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Abstract

Background: Oral mucositis is a side effect of chemotherapy, head and neck radiotherapy, and targeted therapy, affecting over 75% of high-risk patients. Ulceration can lead to severe pain and difficulty with eating and drinking, which may necessitate opioid analgesics, hospitalisation and supplemental nutrition. These complications may disrupt cancer therapy, which may reduce survival. There is also a risk of death from sepsis if pathogens enter the ulcers of immunocompromised patients. Ulcerative oral mucositis can be costly to healthcare systems, yet there are few preventive interventions proven to be beneficial. Cytokines and growth factors may help the regeneration of cells lining of the mouth, thus preventing or reducing oral mucositis and its negative effects.

Objectives: To assess the effects of cytokines and growth factors for preventing oral mucositis in patients with cancer who are receiving treatment.

Search methods: Cochrane Oral Health's Information Specialist searched the following databases: Cochrane Oral Health's Trials Register (searched 10 May 2017); the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2017, Issue 4) in the Cochrane Library (searched 10 May 2017); MEDLINE Ovid (1946 to 10 May 2017); Embase Ovid (7 December 2015 to 10 May 2017); CINAHL EBSCO (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; 1937 to 10 May 2017); and CANCERLIT PubMed (1950 to 10 May 2017). The US National Institutes of Health Ongoing Trials Register (ClinicalTrials.gov) and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform were searched for ongoing trials.

Selection criteria: We included parallel-design randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effects of cytokines and growth factors in patients with cancer receiving treatment.

Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently screened the results of electronic searches, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. For dichotomous outcomes, we reported risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). For continuous outcomes, we reported mean differences (MD) and 95% CIs. We pooled similar studies in random-effects meta-analyses. We reported adverse effects in a narrative format.

Main results: We included 35 RCTs analysing 3102 participants. Thirteen studies were at low risk of bias, 12 studies were at unclear risk of bias, and 10 studies were at high risk of bias. Our main findings were regarding keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) and are summarised as follows. There might be a reduction in the risk of moderate to severe oral mucositis in adults receiving bone marrow/stem cell transplantation after conditioning therapy for haematological cancers (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.80 to 0.99; 6 studies; 852 participants; low-quality evidence). We would need to treat 11 adults with KGF in order to prevent one additional adult from developing this outcome (95% CI 6 to 112). There might be a reduction in the risk of severe oral mucositis in this population, but there is also some possibility of an increase in risk (RR 0.85, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.11; 6 studies; 852 participants; low-quality evidence). We would need to treat 10 adults with KGF in order to prevent one additional adult from developing this outcome (95% CI 5 to prevent the outcome to 14 to cause the outcome). There is probably a reduction in the risk of moderate to severe oral mucositis in adults receiving radiotherapy to the head and neck with cisplatin or fluorouracil (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.00; 3 studies; 471 participants; moderate-quality evidence). We would need to treat 12 adults with KGF in order to prevent one additional adult from developing this outcome (95% CI 7 to infinity). It is very likely that there is a reduction in the risk of severe oral mucositis in this population (RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.90; 3 studies; 471 participants; high-quality evidence). We would need to treat 7 adults with KGF in order to prevent one additional adult from developing this outcome (95% CI 5 to 15). It is likely that there is a reduction in the risk of moderate to severe oral mucositis in adults receiving chemotherapy alone for mixed solid and haematological cancers (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.70; 4 studies; 344 participants; moderate-quality evidence). We would need to treat 4 adults with KGF in order to prevent one additional adult from developing this outcome (95% CI 3 to 6). There might be a reduction in the risk of severe oral mucositis in this population (RR 0.30, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.65; 3 studies; 263 participants; low -quality evidence). We would need to treat 10 adults with KGF in order to prevent one additional adult from developing this outcome (95% CI 8 to 19). Due to the low volume of evidence, single-study comparisons and insufficient sample sizes, we found no compelling evidence of a benefit for any other cytokines or growth factors and there was no evidence on children. There did not appear to be any serious adverse effects of any of the interventions assessed in this review.

Authors' conclusions: We are confident that KGF is beneficial in the prevention of oral mucositis in adults who are receiving: a) radiotherapy to the head and neck with cisplatin or fluorouracil; or b) chemotherapy alone for mixed solid and haematological cancers. We are less confident about a benefit for KGF in adults receiving bone marrow/stem cell transplant after conditioning therapy for haematological cancers because of multiple factors involved in that population, such as whether or not they received total body irradiation (TBI) and whether the transplant was autologous (the patients' own cells) or allogeneic (cells from a donor). KGF appears to be a relatively safe intervention. Due to limited research, we are not confident that there are any beneficial effects of other cytokines and growth factors. There is currently insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions about the use of cytokines and growth factors in children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD011990
Pages (from-to)1-194
Number of pages194
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Volume2017
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2017

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    Riley, P., Glenny, A. M., Worthington, H. V., Littlewood, A., Fernandez Mauleffinch, L. M., Clarkson, J. E., & Mccabe, M. G. (2017). Interventions for preventing oral mucositis in patients with cancer receiving treatment: Cytokines and growth factors. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2017(11), 1-194. [CD011990]. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011990.pub2