Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 42–48 | Cite as

Clinical effects of flurbiprofen tooth patch on radiation-induced oral mucositis. A pilot study

  • M. A. Stokman
  • F. K. L. Spijkervet
  • F. R. Burlage
  • J. L. N. Roodenburg
Original Article



Mucositis is an oral sequela of radiotherapy. In the development of mucositis several mechanisms play a role, such as inflammation and the effect of radiation on the high proliferation rate of oral basal epithelial cells. Therefore, administration of a drug with antiinflammatory and antiproliferative properties might delay the disorder and/or alleviate the severity of oral mucositis. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the effect of flurbiprofen in a tooth patch on the development, severity and duration of pseudomembranous mucositis in patients treated with curative head and neck radiotherapy.


The study group comprised 12 patients with a malignant tumor in the head and neck region to be treated with primary curative or postoperative radiotherapy. Patients applied once a day before sleep a flurbiprofen tooth patch to a natural tooth or upper denture during the full course of radiotherapy, starting 1 week before the onset of radiotherapy. Oral mucositis, pain, feeding, body weight and viability and maturation of epithelial cells were assessed. The results were compared with the findings in a historical control group.


No differences were found for severity and duration of pseudomembranous mucositis between the two groups. The onset of pseudomembranous/ulcerative mucositis occurred later in the flurbiprofen group (14.6±3.8 days, mean±SD) than in the historical control group (11±3.5 days; P<0.05).


This study shows that the flurbiprofen 15 mg tooth patch cannot prevent the development of pseudomembranous mucositis and has no influence on the duration of oral mucositis.


Mucositis Head and neck cancer Radiotherapy Flurbiprofen NSAID 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Stokman
    • 1
  • F. K. L. Spijkervet
    • 1
  • F. R. Burlage
    • 2
  • J. L. N. Roodenburg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryUniversity Hospital GroningenRB GroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of RadiotherapyUniversity Hospital GroningenThe Netherlands

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