放射線治療が味覚に及ぼす影響 [in Japanese] Effects of Radiotherapy on the Sense of Taste [in Japanese]
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The adverse effects of radiotherapy for cancer in the head and neck region include impairment of the sense of taste and smell and dry mouth. The present study was conducted to examine the effects of such radiotherapy on the sense of taste, in view of its influence on the quality of life of patients with malignant tumors of the head and neck following treatment.<br>In 18 patients with malignant tumors of the head and neck (mean age, 59.9 years) the sense of taste was tested using the filter-paper disc method, serially before and after radiotherapy with <sup>60</sup>Co γ rays, in order to analyze the changes in gustatory threshold after radiotherapy. The patients were also observed for subjective symptoms, including dry mouth and impairment of the sense of taste, and changes in the lingual surface over the course of radiotherapy.<br>No increase in the gustatory threshold or subjective impairment of the sense of taste was noted after radiotherapy when the field of irradiation did not include the tongue (4 cases of laryngeal cancer). When the field of irradiation included a part of the tongue (3 cases of maxillary cancer, 3 cases of hypopharyngeal cancer, 1 case of epipharyngeal cancer) or the entire tongue (2 cases of lingual cancer, 2 cases of cancer of the floor of the mouth, 3 cases of mesopharyngeal cancer), dry mouth was noted after irradiation at 7.2-39.6 Gy, and the gustatory threshold increased after irradiation at 12-40 Gy. Subjective impairment of the sense of taste was also reported after irradiation at 10-25.2 Gy, which was restored to normal within 2-3 months after the end of radiotherapy. In relation to the quality of taste, the gustatory threshold for sweet tastes increased the slowest, and was restored rapidly. In contrast, the gustatory threshold for sour tastes increased most rapidly, and was restored slowly. The relationship between the serum zinc level and the increase in gustatory threshold was unclear. There was a tendency for the lingual surface to become dry with associated redness, swelling of the lingual papillae, and coating of the tongue as the radiation dose increased.<br>The increase in gustatory threshold after radiotherapy appeared to depend on the surface area of the tongue included in the field of irradiation. Based on the results of the present study we suggest that impairment of the sense of taste following radiotherapy is attributable to a disorder of the taste buds occurring at the level of the peripheral nervous system.
- Practica Oto-Rhino-Laryngologica
Practica Oto-Rhino-Laryngologica 94(7), 617-625, 2001-07-01
The Society of Practical Otolaryngology