Trophic factors in the treatment and prevention of alimentary tract mucositis

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Purpose of review

Mucositis is a common adverse effect of cytotoxic anticancer treatment with serious implications for the quality of life, morbidity and mortality of cancers patients. Although, evidence supporting the use of certain treatments exists there is no gold standard for preventing or treating mucositis. Current management strategies are scarce with recommendations referring primarily to specific cytotoxic treatment regimens in certain clinical scenarios.

Recent findings

Trophic factors may contribute to preserve epithelial integrity, function, and accelerate regeneration after chemotherapeutic treatment. Accordingly, various growth factors have been evaluated in the prevention or treatment of alimentary tract mucositis. However, in spite of often showing promising results in preclinical testing currently perlifermin is the only trophic factor recommended for the prevention of mucositis.


More knowledge from representative preclinical models, and testing growth factor interventions across different models, may be the key to advance the field from basic science to clinical application of new growth factors. For promising new therapies, subsequent establishment of adequately powered clinical trials and uniform reporting of mucositis, are important elements to help establish new standard interventions that can be included into the continuously updated clinical recommendations for treatment of mucositis.

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