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Background: Oral mucositis is a frequent and serious complication in patients receiving chemo-radiotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. This study evaluated the effects of administering Lactobacillus brevis CD2 lozenges on the incidence and severity of mucositis and tolerance to chemo-radiotherapy.

Methods: Two hundred patients suitable for chemo-radiotherapy were enrolled in a randomised, double-blind study to receive daily treatment with lozenges containing either L. brevis CD2 or placebo. Anticancer therapy was RT 70 Grays/35 fractions over 7 weeks with weekly Inj. Cisplatin 40 mg/m(2). The study treatment was given during, and for 1 week after completion of anticancer therapy. Primary end-points were the incidence of grade III and IV oral mucositis and the percentage of patients able to complete anticancer treatment.

Findings: The efficacy analysis included the 188 patients who received ≥ 1 week of study treatment. Grade III and IV mucositis developed in 52% of patients in the L. brevis CD2 arm and 77% in the placebo arm (P<0.001). Anticancer treatment completion rates were 92% in the L. brevis CD2 arm and 70% in the placebo arm (P=0.001). A larger proportion of patients remained free of mucositis when treated with L. brevis CD2 (28%) compared to the placebo (7%).

Interpretation: L. brevis CD2 lozenges reduced the incidence of grade III and IV anticancer therapy-induced oral mucositis and were associated with a lower overall rate of mucositis and a higher rate of anticancer treatment completion.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus brevisIncreased Anticancer Treatment AdherenceBeneficial
Lactobacillus brevisReduced MucositisBeneficial

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