Oral cancer is the most common tumor of the head and neck region. Its management is based on surgical and systemic therapies. Taste disorders represent the most common side effect of these treatments; indeed, dysgeusia is noted by 70% of oral cancer patients. Despite survival remaining the primary endpoint of cancer patients, taste impairments can cause psychological distress. This comprehensive review describes the last decade’s knowledge from the literature regarding taste alterations in patients with oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. A total of 26 articles in English, including prospective, cross‐sectional, and case–control studies, and clinical trials were evaluated. Literature analysis shows that anti‐cancer treatments can destroy taste cells, decrease and alter their receptors, and interrupt nerve transmission. Furthermore, the tumour itself can destroy the oral mucosal lining, which encloses the taste buds. Dysgeusia typically occurs in 3– 4 weeks of treatments, and usually taste sensation is recovered within 3–12 months. However, some patients exhibit incomplete or no recovery, even several years later. Thus, dysgeusia can become a chronic issue and negatively influence patients’ quality of life, worsening their dysphagia and their nutritional status. Physicians should be focused on preventing oncological treatment‐related symptoms, offering the most suitable personalized support during therapy.
Treatment‐related dysgeusia in oral and oropharyngeal cancer: A comprehensive review / Togni, L.; Mascitti, M.; Vignigni, A.; Alia, S.; Sartini, D.; Barlattani, A.; Emanuelli, M.; Santarelli, A.. - In: NUTRIENTS. - ISSN 2072-6643. - 13:10(2021), p. 3325. [10.3390/nu13103325]