Background: In this study, we sought to understand the usefulness of salivary lactate
dehydrogenase as a predictive marker for the development of radiation-induced
Methods: This was a prospective study with head and neck cancer patients who
required curative radiotherapy (>60Gy). We collected patients’ saliva before the onset
of radiation and after 2 Gy of radiation to assess lactate dehydrogenase levels. The patients
received the stipulated oral and dental care. Data on incidence and severity of mucositis
was collected using a preform sheet and oral mucositis assessment scale published by
the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group throughout the 7-week treatment period.
Results: Salivary lactate dehydrogenase increased with exposure to radiation
(P<0.0001) and there was an observed association with mucositis severity (P<0.0001;
r = 0.515).
Conclusion: The present results have established, for the first time, that salivary
lactate dehydrogenase could be a useful predictive marker to understand the development
of radiation-induced mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer. The proximity
of the oral cavity for regular observation and saliva collection is an added advantage.