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Keywords:

  • mucositis;
  • protein;
  • nutrition;
  • head and neck cancer;
  • radiation

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship of calorie and protein intake to the severity of oral mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer receiving radiation therapy.

Methods

Patients with head and neck cancer undergoing ≥60 Gy of radiation were eligible. Weekly data were collected for oral mucositis grade and protein and calorie intake. Proportional odds models examined the association of oral mucositis severity with nutritional predictors.

Results

During a 24-month period, 40 evaluable patients met criteria for inclusion. In a multivariate backward selection model, the sole significant nutritional predictor of reduced oral mucositis severity was meeting the protein goal for the current week (p = .01; adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.30).

Conclusion

Patients who met protein-related goals during radiotherapy for head and neck cancer had less severe oral mucositis. Nutritional counseling during radiotherapy, with emphasis on protein goals, may reduce oral mucositis severity. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2012