Summary Review | Published:

Summary Review/Oral medicine

Low level laser therapy may reduce risk of oral mucositis

Evidence-Based Dentistry volume 16, page 49 (2015) | Download Citation

Address for correspondence: Lillian Sung, Division of Haematology/Oncology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Program in Child Health Evaluative Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, Toronto, Ontario, Canada E-mail:


Data sources

Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), CINHAL, Web of Science, Scopus, LILACS, Conference proceedings of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, and Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer and the reference lists of identified studies.

Study selection

Two reviewers independently selected studies for inclusion with randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs being considered.

Data extraction and synthesis

Data were extracted using a specifically developed form and study quality was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Dichotomous outcomes data were synthesised using the risk ratio (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). Continuous outcomes measured using different scales were synthesised using the standardised mean difference (SMD) while those using the same scale were synthesised using the weighted mean difference (WMD).


Eighteen RCTs involving 1144 patients were included. Four trials were considered to be at low risk of bias across all domains. Prophylactic LLLT reduced the overall risk of severe mucositis (risk ratio (RR) 0.37, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.20 to 0.67; P = 0.001). Compared to placebo/no therapy LLLT also reduced the following outcomes; severe mucositis at the time of anticipated maximal mucositis RR = 0.34, (95% CI; 0.20 to 0.59); overall mean grade of mucositis SMD -1.49, (95% CI; -2.02 to -0.95); duration of severe mucositis WMD -5.32, 95% (CI; -9.45 to -1.19) and incidence of severe pain (RR 0.26, 95% CI; 0.18 to 0.37).


Prophylactic LLLT reduced severe mucositis and pain in patients with cancer and HSCT recipients. Future research should identify the optimal characteristics of LLLT and determine feasibility in the clinical setting.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Author information


  1. NYU College of Dentistry, New York, USA

    • Silvia Spivakovsky


  1. Search for Silvia Spivakovsky in:

About this article

Publication history



Further reading