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Honey Mitigates Radiation-Induced Oral Mucositis in Head and Neck Cancer Patients without Affecting the Tumor Response

Rao, Suresh, Hegde, Sanath K., Rao, Pratima, Dinkar, Chetana, Thilakchand, Karadka R., George, Thomas, Baliga-Rao, Manjeshwar P., Palatty, Princy L., Baliga, Manjeshwar S.
Foods 2017 v.6 no.9
head and neck neoplasms, honey, measuring devices, neoplasm cells, patients, radiotherapy
Radiation-induced mucositis is a dose-limiting factor in the effective treatment of head and neck (H &amp; N) cancers. The objective of this study was to understand the efficacy of honey in mitigating radiation-induced mucositis and whether it would interfere with tumor control. This was a single-blinded, randomized, controlled study and was carried out in patients with H &amp; N cancer requiring curative radiotherapy (>62 Gy (Gray)). The patients meeting the inclusion criteria were randomly assigned to receive either honey (n = 25) or povidone-iodine (active comparator) (n = 25) during radiotherapy. Oral mucositis was assessed using the RTOG (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group) grading system before the start, during, and at the end of the treatment by an investigator unaware of the treatment. The results indicate that when compared with the active comparator, honey reduced the radiation-induced oral mucositis, decreased the incidence of intolerable mucositis, treatment breaks, loss of treatment days (p < 0.0001 and < 0.0003) and did not affect the radiation-induced tumor response. The clinical observations indicate that honey mitigates the radiation-induced mucositis and does not interfere with tumor cell killing.