BACKGROUND: Limited data are available on the risk factors of salivary gland dysfunction in long-term childhood cancer survivors (CCS). The objective of this cross-sectional study, part of the multidisciplinary multicenter Dutch CCS Study Late Effects 2 (DCCSS LATER 2), was to assess the prevalence of and risk factors for hyposalivation and xerostomia in CCS.
METHODS: From February 2016 until March 2020, 292 CCS were included. Data with regard to gender, age at study, diagnosis, age at diagnosis, and treatment characteristics were collected, as well as the unstimulated (UWS) and stimulated whole salivary flow rate (SWS). Xerostomia was assessed with the Xerostomia Inventory (XI) questionnaire. Multivariable Poisson regression analyses were used to evaluate the association between potential risk factors and the occurrence of hyposalivation.
RESULTS: The minimum time between diagnosis and study enrollment was 15 years. The prevalence of hyposalivation was 32% and the prevalence of xerostomia was 9.4%. Hyposalivation and xerostomia were not significantly correlated. Risk factors for hyposalivation were female gender and a higher dose of radiotherapy (>12 Gy) to the salivary gland region.
CONCLUSION: Considering the importance of saliva for oral health, screening for hyposalivation in CCS is suggested in order to provide optimal oral supportive care aimed to improve oral health.