Effectiveness of Cryotherapy on Cancer Therapy-Induced Oral Mucositis: An Umbrella Review

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Background: Oral mucositis (OM) considerably affects the experience of patients with cancer during treatment. This study investigated the effects of cryotherapy on cancer therapy-induced OM. Objective: This study aimed to systematically appraise evidence on whether cryotherapy can reduce the incidence and severity of OM. Methods: We conducted an umbrella review to examine the effect of cryotherapy on cancer-related OM. The primary outcome was the incidence and severity of OM. We performed a subgroup analysis including solid cancers and hematological malignancies. Results: Five meta-analyses were included. Cryotherapy could more effectively reduce the incidence of severe OM (risk ratio [RR], 0.37; 95% prediction interval [PI], 0.22-0.64). In the subgroup analyses of solid cancers or hematological malignancies, cryotherapy significantly reduced the incidence of grades 2 to 4 OM in patients with solid cancers (RR, 0.51; 95% PI, 0.34-0.78 and RR, 0.52; 95% PI, 0.36-0.74). However, no significant difference was observed in the incidence of OM in patients with hematological malignancies regarding any grade or grade 3 or 4 OM. Moreover, cryotherapy did not significantly reduce the OM duration (mean difference, -0.13; 95% PI, -20.89 to 20.63; mean difference, -2.99, 95% PI, -8.10 to 2.12). Conclusion: Cryotherapy can reduce the incidence of severe OM induced by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Implication for Practice We recommend the inclusion of this safe, simple, and convenient intervention in chemotherapy or radiotherapy plans. Additional clinical trials are warranted to extend the limited evidence on the effectiveness of cryotherapy in reducing the severity and duration of OM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E288-E296
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2023


  • Chemotherapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Hematologic malignancies
  • Oral mucositis
  • Radiotherapy
  • Solid cancer
  • Umbrella review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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