A meta-analysis of palifermin efficacy for the management of oral mucositis in patients with solid tumours and haematological malignancy

John Coutsouvelis, Carmela Corallo, Andrew Spencer, Sharon Avery, Michael Dooley, Carl M. Kirkpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Palifermin, a recombinant keratinocyte growth factor promotes thickening of the mucosa, minimising severity of mucositis caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

Objective: To synthesise published literature on palifermin for the management of oral mucositis, in patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, aiming to ascertain recommendations for practice. 

Methods: Databases searched were Medline, Embase, IPA and CIANHL. A meta-analysis included randomised controlled trials (RCT) for palifermin compared to placebo or no palifermin, with the key data extracted being number of events of severe mucositis (defined by WHO criteria grade 3 or 4). 

Results: The meta-analysis included 10 RCT. Patients were treated for solid and haematological malignancy. Analysis suggested benefit of palifermin decreasing the incidence of severe mucositis in solid tumours RR0.76 [95%CI 0.63–0.92;p = 0.004], haematological malignancy RR0.63 [95 %CI 0.48–0.82;p = 0.0007] and overall RR0.69 [95 %CI 0.59–0.81;p < 0.0001]. 

Conclusion: Palifermin reduces the incidence of severe mucositis up to 30 % in patients receiving treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103606
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Haematological malignancy
  • Oral mucositis
  • Palifermin
  • Solid tumour
  • Stem cell transplantation

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