Granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor mouthwashes heal oral ulcers during head and neck radiotherapy.Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Jul 01; 41(4):747-54.IJ
To evaluate the effectiveness of granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor GM-CSF mouthwashes in the epithelization of radiation-induced oral mucosal ulceration, control of pain, and weight loss.
METHODS AND MATERIALS
Twelve patients received curative radiotherapy for head and neck carcinoma. All had oropharyngeal and/or oral mucosa irradiation, with a median dose of 72 Gy (range 50-74), with conventional fractionation. A total of 300 microg of GM-CSF in 250 cc of water for 1 h of mouthwashing was prescribed. The procedure started once oral ulceration in the irradiation field was detected. Patients, examined twice a week, were evaluated for oral ulceration, pain, and weight loss. Blood tests were taken weekly during GM-CSF administration. A comparison was carried out with 12 retrospective case-matched controls.
In the GM-CSF group, mucosa ulcerations healed in 9 of 12 (75%) of the patients during the course of the radiotherapy. Fifty percent of the patients said they felt less pain during the GM-CSF treatment; 30% needed morphine. The mean and median weight loss as a percentage of baseline weight in addition to the actual weight were 4.2% and 3%, respectively (variation ranged between a gain of 1% and a loss of 13%). No GM-CSF-related side effects were found. In the case control group, in the 12 cases, oral ulcerations increased during radiotherapy and two patients needed intubation intake and hospital admission, as opposed to the GM-CSF group. The mean and median percentage of weight loss were 5.8% and 5%, respectively. Sixty percent of patients needed morphine, as opposed to 30% in the GM-CSF group.
Granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor was effective in curing mucosal ulcerations during the course of radiotherapy. This is the first time we have seen a drug with this capacity. Although the GM-CSF seems to be effective in the control of pain, oral intake, and weight loss, we need further studies with a greater number of patients to confirm our premise. Double-blind trials are necessary for future research into the control of pain and weight loss.