Oral mucositis is a common adverse effect of cancer therapy. Probiotics have been shown to exert anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. We performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to investigate whether probiotics can prevent cancer therapy–induced oral mucositis. We searched PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov databases for trials related to probiotics and oral mucositis published before September 2022; no language restrictions were applied. The primary outcome was the incidence of oral mucositis and severe oral mucositis. Secondary outcomes were the requirement for enteral nutrition during treatment, body weight loss, and decreased quality of life. The study has been registered in PROSPERO (number: CRD 42022302339). Eight RCTs, including 708 patients, were reviewed; however, a meta-analysis of only seven trials could be performed. Three trials using Lactobacilli-based probiotics reported that the incidence of oral mucositis in the probiotic group was significantly low (risk ratio [RR] = 0.84, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.77–0.93, p = 0.0004). Seven trials reported a significantly low incidence of severe oral mucositis in the probiotic group (RR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.53–0.81, p < 0.0001). The requirement of enteral nutrition was significantly low in the probiotic group (odds ratio = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.13–0.92, p < 0.05). This study demonstrated the effectiveness of probiotics in the prevention and mitigation of cancer therapy–induced oral mucositis. We recommend the use of probiotics to prevent and treat oral mucositis during cancer therapy.
- oral mucositis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry