Journal of Prevention and Treatment for Stomatological Diseases ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (4): 260-266.doi: 10.12016/j.issn.2096-1456.2021.04.007

• Review Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress on biomarkers related to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis

LING Yunxiao1(),WANG Jiantao2,WANG Yan1()   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases & National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy & Department of Lung Cancer Center and Department of Radiation Oncology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China
  • Received:2020-01-16 Revised:2020-05-13 Online:2021-04-20 Published:2021-02-26
  • Contact: Yan WANG;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(81600864);Sichuan Provincial Commision of Health and Family Planning Fund Promotion Program(18PJ186)


Radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis is a common oral complication in tumor patients undergoing radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, which seriously compromises patients’ quality of life and even affects anti-tumor treatment. Biomarkers are signal indicators that appear at different biological levels before or during disease. A comprehensive understanding of the biomarkers associated with oral mucositis contributes to the early identification of high-risk patients with oral mucositis and aids in the screening of patients prone to develop severe oral mucositis, guiding the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis. This article reviews the existing biomarkers associated with oral mucositis. The literature review results showed that the biomarkers associated with oral mucositis included growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, genes, plasma antioxidants, and pro-apoptotic proteins/inhibitor of apoptosis proteins. These biomarkers can be used to predict the risk of oral mucositis or facilitate early discrimination of patients prone to exhibit severe radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis. EGF, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β and CRP can be used to predict and evaluate the risk and development of oral mucositis, whereas genes such as excision repair cross complementing 1(ERCC1), X-ray repair cross complementing 1(XRCC1), methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 1A (TNFRSF1A) have been focus of research in recent years. The genotypes and expression levels of some of these genes exhibit variable capacities to predict the risk and severity of oral mucositis. However, no biomarkers have been used in clinical practice, and more studies are needed in the future to verify the reliability and accuracy of these biomarkers, to provide a reference for the early accurate prevention and treatment of radiation and chemotherapy oral mucositis.

Key words: oral mucositis, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, biomarkers, epidermal growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin, excision repair cross complementing 1, X-ray repair cross complementing 1, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase

CLC Number: 

  • R86
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