Effect of glutamine supplement on chemo-radiation induced mucositis in head and neck cancer patients: a prospective study


  • Bishnu Prasad Das Department of Radiotherapy, Maharaja Krishna Chandra Gajapati Medical College. Berhampur, Odisha, India
  • Jitendra Patra Department of Radiotherapy, Maharaja Krishna Chandra Gajapati Medical College. Berhampur, Odisha, India




Oral glutamine, Head and neck cancer, Mucositis, Radiation toxicities


Background: Radiotherapy is one of the primary modalities of cancer treatment but may associated with short and long-term toxicities. Oral mucositis is frequently encountered in head and neck cancer resulting in unplanned treatment breaks. Few studies emphasized that use of oral glutamine may significantly reduce oral mucositis and other acute toxicities. This study aims to assess the effects of glutamine on oral mucositis in head and neck cancer patients receiving chemo-radiation.

Methods: It is a prospective study carried out in sixty-four head and neck cancer patients attending radiotherapy department for chemo-radiation from January 2018 to May 2019. Patients were randomly assigned into two arms containing 32 subjects in each. All the patients in arm-A were taking oral glutamine supplement of 15 mg once daily, two hours prior to radiation and arm-B serve as the control group. Dose of radiation fixed at 66 Gy in 33 fractions over a period of 7 weeks along with an infusion of weekly cisplatin (40 mg/m2). Patients were evaluated regarding onset, severity and the recovery period of mucositis.

Results: Oral mucositis appeared at around 5th week in arm-A and 3rd week in arm-B (p<0.0001). Number of patients with mucositis is significantly less in arm-A (75%, 24 out of 32) as compared to arm-B (96.8%) (p=0.0310). The time required for healing of mucositis is significantly less than 1 week in arm-A compared to ~2 weeks in the arm-B (p<0.0001).

Conclusions: Oral glutamine when given prior to radiation results in delayed onset of oral mucositis with decreased severity and an early healing period.



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How to Cite

Das, B. P., & Patra, J. (2020). Effect of glutamine supplement on chemo-radiation induced mucositis in head and neck cancer patients: a prospective study. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 9(3), 417–421. https://doi.org/10.18203/2319-2003.ijbcp20200580



Original Research Articles