Association of xerostomia and taste alterations of patients receiving antineoplastic chemotherapy: A cause for nutritional concern

      Summary

      Background & aims

      The symptoms of xerostomia and taste alteration are adverse effects which frequently occur in patients under chemotherapy and once associated they can potentially impair their nutritional status. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of xerostomia and taste alterations in patients being treated by neoplastic chemotherapy.

      Methods

      Fifty patients scheduled to receive neoplastic chemotherapy were followed for their first two chemotherapy cycles for solid tumors and the Chemotherapy-Induced Taste Alteration Scale (CiTAS) was adopted. Xerostomia was defined by the presence of dry mouth complaints reported by the patients and signs of hyposalivation identified during the intraoral examination.

      Results

      Of the 50 patients, 33 were women, mean age; 61,48 ± 9,07 years, and 17 were men, mean age; 57,35 ± 11,50 years. The most common tumor was located in the breast affecting 15 patients (30%). The Mann–Whitney test showed that the mean scores of CiTAS were significantly higher for those patients who reported having xerostomia when compared with those without xerostomia after the first two chemotherapy cycles. The cofounding variables such as age, smoking habits and use of antidepressants were not statistically associated with taste alterations (p > 0.05).

      Conclusions

      Taste alterations were worse for patients who complained of xerostomia during the first two cycles of antineoplastic chemotherapy and the association of both symptoms can potentially impair their nutritional status and quality of life.

      Keywords

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