Intestinal mucositis: mechanisms and management

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Purpose of reviewTo describe the advances in the rapidly evolving field of intestinal (or alimentary) mucositis during the past year.Recent findingsMajor advances have been made in both the clinical and preclinical setting, with the publication of a suite of articles regarding the pathobiology and management of mucositis, as well as several articles on important basic research in the area. The mechanism of mucositis development is now understood to be much more complex than previously thought, with an interplay of host and drug factors leading to overt damage, and variation in manifestation of that damage depending on the specific region of the gut. The MASCC/ISOO management guidelines for mucositis have been updated: a recommendation for the use of palifermin in the hematology transplant setting has been added, and a couple of previous recommendations have been revoked. This marks an important milestone in mucositis, as it is the first time a drug has been available that substantially reduces the occurrence and severity of mucositis.SummaryThere is still much to be done to abolish the severe toxicity of chemotherapy and radiotherapy; however, progress is accelerating, and new targeted drugs are becoming available.

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