• Emma Bateman
  • Richard Logan
  • Rachel Gibson
  • Dorothy KeefeEmail author
Reference work entry


Mucositis is an inflammatory reaction of the mucosa of the alimentary tract (AT) caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and targeted therapy for cancer. It presents a significant burden not only to patient quality of life but also may result in diminished tumor control (through dose reductions) and increased treatment costs (due to extended hospital stays and supportive care). Mucositis symptoms may vary not only due to the treatment modality but also according to genetic predispositions of the patient toward developing toxicity (toxicogenomics). Management of mucositis is at present supportive only, with treatments that reduce incidence, severity, and duration of clinical symptoms, but do not prevent or cure mucositis altogether. A great deal of current research into the mechanisms involved in development and progression of mucositis is also being carried out; it is hoped that a clear understanding of mucositis pathophysiology, along with comprehensive toxicogenomics, will enable more preventative treatments to be developed.





alimentary tract


Bayes factor


complementary and alternative medicine






glucagon-like peptide


hydrogen breath test


hematopoietic stem cell transplantation




low-intensity laser


low-level laser therapy


Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology


monoclonal antibody


matrix metalloproteases


mechanistic target of rapamycin


National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events


nuclear factor kappa B


oral mucositis


patient-reported outcome


quality of life


randomized controlled trial




short bowel syndrome


13C-sucrose breath test


targeted anticancer therapy


total body irradiation


tyrosine kinase inhibitor


toll-like receptor


tumour necrosis factor


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma Bateman
    • 1
  • Richard Logan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rachel Gibson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dorothy Keefe
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Cancer Treatment Toxicities Group, School of MedicineUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of DentistryUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Division of Health SciencesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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