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Assessment of oral leukocyte levels in chemo-radiotherapy induced oral mucositis during imrt for head and neck cancer

Author: 
Dr S. Karthika Nagarajan
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: Oral mucositis is a common, dose limiting and potentially serious complication of both radiotherapy and chemotherapy of head and neck cancer. Homeostasis of both malignant and normal host cells are affected. This study is conducted mainly to evaluate application of oral leukocytes as an indicator of mucositis progression during the course of chemo-radiotherapy (CRT). Methodology: 30 patients who were diagnosed as having malignancy and were undergoing CRT as treatment option using Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) were selected and followed up through course of treatment. The procedure involved clinical scoring, collection of oral washings and preparation of buccal smears from both study group and control group. Results: The results revealed a significant occurrence of oral mucositis in almost all patients during followup. There was a significant increase in percentage of oral leukocytes in patients when compared to controls (P<0.005). There was a significant decrease in blood leukocyte level when compared to control (P<0.005). The changes in the oral neutrophil counts correlated with WHO clinical score. Conclusion: Assessment of oral leukocyte especially neutrophils can be considered for evaluation and prediction of mucositis development during CRT. Therefore, this assessment may be useful in research studies aimed at preventing mucositis and can also be used as an adjunct in tracking mucositis development and plan therapy.

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