Praveen Arany, DDS, PhD Department of Oral Biology School of Dental Medicine University of Buffalo

Phototherapy Improves Oral Side Effects of Cancer Treatment Interview with:

Praveen Arany, DDS, PhD Department of Oral Biology School of Dental Medicine University of Buffalo

Dr. Arany

Praveen Arany, DDS, PhD
Department of Oral Biology
School of Dental Medicine
University of Buffalo What is the background for this study? How is the light treatment delivered?

Response: Cancers are usually treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy the tumor cells. However, an unfortunate side-effect of these treatments is pain and ulcers in the mouth due to breakdown of normal protective responses.

Light has various applications in human health and normal physiology. Two good examples are vision and sunlight-Vitamin D for bone and health. The use of low dose light to alleviate pain or inflammation and promote tissue healing is termed Photobiomodulation (PBM) Therapy.

This treatment can be provided with lasers or LED devices at specific wavelength (color) and dose (power). This treatment is currently being provided by a health care provider – usually a laser – either nurse or dentist prior or during the cancer treatments. There are several exciting innovation where take-home, self-use devices are becoming available. What are the main findings?

Response: In this recent paper, a systematic review and meta-analyses of 33 rigorously done clinical trials were performed that noted that PBM therapy was effective for managing oral mucositis. These evidences were strong enough to recommend the use of Photobiomodulation treatment as a routine approach in cancer care. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Cancer treatments are an essential component of current healthcare that ensures effective control or elimination of tumors. Unfortunately, complications that arise from these treatments results in either interruptions or discontinuation that can be lethal.

There are several health issues and a significant deterioration of quality of life in these cancer patients. Several patients are prescribed opioids to relieve their symptoms. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The use of Photobiomodulation therapy offers a simple, non-invasive and non-pharmacological approach to reduce these complications and significantly improve their quality of life. Besides the direct therapeutic benefit on oral mucositis, there are striking reports of PBM therapy on depression, fatigue and resilience that positively impacts their ability to deal with their cancer. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: There is significant progress on our fundamental understanding of PBM mechanisms that are enabling development of rigorous, reproducible clinical protocols. Improved technologies with light devices are now making significant flexibility and adaptability of PBM devices for various human ailments.

Disclosures: My research is currently supported by NIDCR, University at Buffalo, American Society of Lasers in Surgery, NST consulting and Medicine, American Dental Education Association. I have provided consulting services to Lumitex/MuReva, Neomedlight, MedX and Picomics. I have received travel support from Thor Photomedicine and Weber Medical and serve on the scientific advisory board of Curalase, Roger Sciences Inc and RegenTech. Our lab has received non-restricted gifts from Biolase, K-Laser, MedX and LightScalpel


Yehuda Zadik, Praveen R. Arany, Eduardo Rodrigues Fregnani, Paolo Bossi, Héliton Spindola Antunes, René-Jean Bensadoun, Luiz Alcino Gueiros, Alessandra Majorana, Raj G. Nair, Vinisha Ranna, Wim J. E. Tissing, Anusha Vaddi, Rachel Lubart, Cesar Augusto Migliorati, Rajesh V. Lalla, Karis Kin Fong Cheng, Sharon Elad. Systematic review of photobiomodulation for the management of oral mucositis in cancer patients and clinical practice guidelines.Supportive Care in Cancer, 2019; DOI: 10.1007/s00520-019-04890-2

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD