Lin, Y., Lin, L., Lin, S., & Chang, C. (2010). Discrepancy of the effects of zinc supplementation on the prevention of radiotherapy-induced mucositis between patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma and those with oral cancers: subgroup analysis of a double-blind, randomized study. Nutrition & Cancer, 62(5), 682-691.10.1080/01635581003605532
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of zinc supplementation on radiation-induced mucositis in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and those with oral cancers (OC).
Patients were randomly assigned to experimental or control groups. The experimental group received 75 mg zine 4 times/day for three months during radiation therapy. Control group patients received soy bean capsules. Patients were evaluated if mucositis was detected, weekly. Patients were followed at 3 and 12 months post-radiation therapy completion. Side effects were evaluated by a blinded physician observer.
The study was comprised of 83 patients, age >18 years of age.
MALES 85.5%, FEMALES 14.5%
KEY DISEASE CHARACTERISTICS: 40 were patients with nasopharyngeal cancers (NPC) and 43 were patients with oral cavity cancers (OC).
OTHER KEY SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS: zinc supplementation
SITE: Single site
PHASE OF CARE: Active treatment
Randomized double blind study
Serum zinc, cell count, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, glutamic oxalacetic transaminase (GOT), glutamic pyruvic transaminase (GPT), transferrin, and body weight were checked one week prior to radiotherapy and were repeated biweekly until radiotherapy was completed. The serum zinc level was checked using the atomic absorption method.
The study found that there is a discrepancy in the effects of zinc supplementation in preventing mucositis between patients with NPC and those with OC, as there were significant effects of zinc supplementation in improving mucositis in patients with OC. Grade 2-3 mucositis occurred earlier in patients receiving placebo.
Further studies need to be done to investigate the effect of zinc supplementation in preventing the severity of mucositis in relation to the different radiation fields between those associated with patients diagnosed with oral cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer. This study was focused on subgroup analysis of a previous report.
Small sample <100
Zinc supplementation may be of benefit in the prevention of oral mucositis. It appears that efficacy may differ according to the specific type and location of the tumor.