Tumor Safety and Side Effects of Photobiomodulation Therapy Used for Prevention and Management of Cancer Treatment Toxicities: A Systematic Review

Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT), also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), has been increasingly used for the treatment of toxicities related to cancer treatment. One of the challenges for the universal acceptance of PBMT use in cancer patients is whether or not there is a potential for the light to stimulate the growth of residual malignant cells that evaded oncologic treatment, increasing the risk for tumor recurrences and development of a second primary tumor. Current science suggests promising effects of PBMT in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer-related lymphedema and oral mucositis, among other cancer treatment toxicities.

Nevertheless, this seems to be the first systematic review to analyze the safety of the use of PBMT for the management of cancer-related toxicities. Scopus, MEDLINE/PubMed, and Embase were searched electronically. A total of 27 articles met the search criteria. Selected studies included the use of PBMT for prevention and treatment of oral mucositis, lymphedema, radiodermatitis, and peripheral neuropathy. Most studies showed that no side effects were observed with the use of PBMT. The results of this systematic review, based on current literature, suggest that the use of PBMT in the prevention and management of cancer treatment toxicities does not lead to the development of tumor safety issues.

Published: Oral Oncology, Vol. 93, June 2019, Pgs. 21-28

Keywords: Cancer; Cancer treatment toxicities; Laser; Mucositis; Photobiomodulation; Safety; Side effect; Systematic review.

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