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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2008, Article ID 907892, 7 pages
Review Article

New Pathways for Alimentary Mucositis

1Department of Medical Oncology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
2Division of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
3Mucositis Research Laboratory, Hanson Institute, Frome Rd, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia

Received 19 June 2008; Accepted 12 August 2008

Academic Editor: James Mulshine

Copyright © 2008 Joanne M. Bowen and Dorothy M. K. Keefe. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alimentary mucositis is a major dose-limiting toxicity associated with anticancer treatment. It is responsible for reducing patient quality of life and represents a significant economic burden in oncology. The pathobiology of alimentary mucositis is extremely complex, and an increased understanding of mechanisms and pathway interactions is required to rationally design improved therapies. This review describes the latest advances in defining mechanisms of alimentary mucositis pathobiology in the context of pathway activation. It focuses particularly on the recent genome-wide analyses of regimen-related mucosal injury and the identification of specific regulatory pathways implicated in mucositis development. This review also discusses the currently known alimentary mucositis risk factors and the development of novel treatments. Suggestions for future research directions have been raised.