Photobiomodulation Therapy for Cancer Treatment-Related Salivary Gland Dysfunction: A Systematic Review

Vladimir Heiskanen*, Yehuda Zadik, Sharon Elad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: Symptoms and clinical signs of decreased saliva secretion are a common after cancer therapy. The goal of this research is to systematically review the evidence about the efficacy of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) for the management of cancer treatment-related xerostomia or salivary hypofunction. Methods: PubMed was searched for articles investigating the clinical effects of PBMT on cancer therapy-related xerostomia or hyposalivation. The publications that met the eligibility criteria were evaluated for the quality of the study design, physical parameter setting reproducibility, specifics of the treatment protocol, clinical outcomes, and adverse effects. The strongest evidence was given a heavier weight in the overall conclusions. Results: A total of 314 articles were identified, and 5 controlled trials were included in this systematic review. Most of the studies were in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiotherapy (RT) or radiochemotherapy (RT-CT), and one study was in dry mouth associated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Data showed conflicting results for either prevention or treatment of RT-or RT-CT-induced dry mouth or hyposalivation. The data for HSCT-related dry mouth were positive. Conclusions: Despite positive preliminary outcomes in most of the trials, it is too early to confidently determine the efficacy of PBM for cancer therapy-related hyposalivation or xerostomia.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)340-347
Number of pages8
JournalPhotobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • cancer
  • dry mouth
  • laser
  • photobiomodulation
  • salivary hypofunction
  • xerostomia


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