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Animal models of mucositis

critical tools for advancing pathobiological understanding and identifying therapeutic targets

Wardill, Hannah R.a,c; Tissing, Wim J.E.c,d; Kissow, Hannelouisee; Stringer, Andrea M.a,b

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: June 2019 - Volume 13 - Issue 2 - p 119–133
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000421
GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS: Edited by Nicole Blijlevens and Andrea M. Stringer

Purpose of review Mucositis remains a prevalent, yet poorly managed side effect of anticancer therapies. Mucositis affecting both the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract predispose to infection and require extensive supportive management, contributing to the growing economic burden associated with cancer care. Animal models remain a critical aspect of mucositis research, providing novel insights into its pathogenesis and revealing therapeutic targets. The current review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current animal models used in mucositis research.

Recent findings A wide variety of animal models of mucositis exist highlighting the highly heterogenous landscape of supportive oncology and the unique cytotoxic mechanisms of different anticancer agents. Golden Syrian hamsters remain the gold-standard species for investigation of oral mucositis induced by single dose and fractionated radiation as well as chemoradiation. There is no universally accepted gold-standard model for the study of gastrointestinal mucositis, with rats, mice, pigs and dogs all offering unique perspectives on its pathobiology.

Summary Animal models are a critical aspect of mucositis research, providing unprecedent insight into the pathobiology of mucositis. Introduction of tumour-bearing models, cyclic dosing scheduled, concomitant agents and genetically modified animals have been integral in refining our understanding of mucositis.

aAdelaide Medical School, The University of Adelaide

bSchool of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

cDepartment of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen

dPrincess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, The Netherlands

eNNF Center of Basic Metabolic Research and Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence to Andrea M. Stringer, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Musculoskeletal Biology Research Group, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61 8 8302 7388; e-mail:

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