Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 1577–1584 | Cite as

Burden of oral mucositis in stem cell transplant patients—the patients’ perspective

  • Tim Staudenmaier
  • Irena Cenzer
  • Alexander Crispin
  • Helmut Ostermann
  • Karin Berger
Original Article



Purpose of this study was to determine the impact of Oral Mucositis (OM) on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and quality of life associated symptoms and functions in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).


Prospective, non-interventional single-center observational study at a German tertiary teaching hospital. Inpatient allogenic and autologous stem cell transplant patients ≥18-year-old with high-dose chemotherapy. OM was assessed with the WHO Oral Toxicity Scale, pain according to the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) and the performance status using the ECOG Score. QOL was captured with the EORTC QLQ-C30 and the QLQ-OH15 questionnaires.


Forty-five stem cell transplant patients (20 autologous, 25 allogenic) were enrolled between August 2016 and February 2017. Twenty-six (58%, 95% CI: 42% - 72%) patients developed OM (10 grade I, 4 grade II, 8 grade III, 4 grade IV). OM affected patients suffered more from pain, sore mouth and sensitive mouth. A lower physical functioning (34.5 vs 7.5, p = 0.003) and a lower oral health-related quality of life (24.3 vs 7.7, p = 0.006) was found in patients with OM development. There was found a positive correlation between the grade of OM and the NRS-value (r = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.89–0.96, p < 0.001).


OM is associated with health-related quality of life and quality of life associated functions and symptoms. More research should be performed to find ways to prevent OM and to stabilize patients’ quality of life during HSCT.


Cancer treatment Health-related quality of life Oral mucositis Hematopoietic stems cell transplantation HSCT 


Compliance with ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Staudenmaier
    • 1
  • Irena Cenzer
    • 1
  • Alexander Crispin
    • 2
  • Helmut Ostermann
    • 1
  • Karin Berger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine IIIUniversity Hospital, LMU MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometry and EpidemiologyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

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