Smartphone App Feasible for Measuring Radiation-Induced Oral Mucositis Pain

By Leah Lawrence - Last Updated: November 1, 2022

The use of a smartphone pain app for assessment of radiation-induced oral mucositis in conjunction with more traditional questionnaires may improve understanding of the severity of mucositis-related pain among patients with head and neck cancer, according to a poster presented at the 2022 ASCO Quality Care Symposium.

Oral mucositis is one of the most common radiation therapy-related toxicities associated with treatment for head and neck cancer, according to study researcher Aditya V. Shreenivas, MD, MS, of Medical College of Wisconsin, and colleagues. In this single-arm, observational study, researchers assessed the feasibility of using a smartphone-based pain app (OMP) to assess mucositis pain in patients with locally advanced disease undergoing a course of definitive or adjuvant radiotherapy, with or without chemotherapy. All patients had oral cavity or oropharynx cancer.

Patients were prompted to input pain severity scores using a visual analog scale from 0-10 at multiple times during a day. The software generated a time-weighted average weekly summary. The patients also completed weekly Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and MD Anderson head and neck symptom inventory (MDASI-HN) questionnaires.

Of 18 registered patients, 15 patients had complete data. Pain scores calculated from OMP were 0.40 units higher than BPI pain.

In addition, BPI pain and OMP pain were not always in clear agreement. The average weekly pain scores calculated by OMP had positive correlations with fatigue (P<.001), drowsiness (P<.001), interference with activity (P<.001), and interference with work (P<.001) related scores recorded in MDASI-HN.

Feasibility surveys revealed that participants found it easy to enter responses and not at all difficult to use all features of the app. In addition, participation in the study did not interfere with the patients’ usual activities.