Dental caries following radiotherapy for head and neck cancer: A systematic review.

07:00 EST 28th November 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Dental caries following radiotherapy for head and neck cancer: A systematic review."

Post-radiotherapy head and neck cancer patients are at increased risk of dental caries due to radiotherapy-induced salivary gland hypofunction and radiation-damage to tooth structure. Dental caries may cause pain and discomfort, and is likely to have a detrimental impact on patients' quality of life. This systematic review appraised and synthesised best available evidence regarding the incidence and severity of post-radiotherapy dental caries in head and neck cancer patients. Six databases and two trial registries were searched from their inception to May 2019. A total of 22 papers met the inclusion criteria. The pooled percentage of patients that developed dental caries post-radiotherapy was 29% (n = 15 studies; 95% CI 21%, 39%; I = 88.0%). Excluding studies with longer than two years follow-up, the pooled percentage was 37% (n = 9 studies; 95% CI 25%, 51%; I = 88.6%). Meta-regression analysis revealed that studies with a higher mean/median radiotherapy dose exposure, had an increased incidence of dental caries (p = 0.02). Furthermore, studies with a higher proportion of patients treated with chemotherapy in addition to radiotherapy, had an increased incidence of dental caries (p = 0.02) after the exclusion of an outlier. It is important to be mindful of the high degree of observed heterogeneity and the inclusion of a large number of non-randomised studies. Data regarding the number of carious teeth, the number of carious tooth surfaces, and the number of carious lesions developed post-radiotherapy was unsuitable for meta-analysis. There is a need for well-designed research studies to improve understanding of dental caries-risk in post-radiotherapy head and neck cancer patients.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Oral oncology
ISSN: 1879-0593
Pages: 104484


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