Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In some clinical situations the endogenous production of glutamine may be insufficient to maintain optimal tissue structure and function such that glutamine becomes a conditionally essential amino acid. Studies in laboratory animals have demonstrated that glutamine supplementation can reduce the incidence and severity of cytotoxic-induced mucositis. This study examined the role of oral glutamine supplementation in the management of mucositis caused by 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and folinic acid. Twenty-eight patients with gastrointestinal cancers were randomised to receive 16 g of glutamine per day for 8 days, or placebo, in a randomised double-blind trial before crossing over to the alternative supplement during the second treatment cycle. The supplement was well tolerated with no apparent adverse effects, but failed to have any significant effect on oral mucositis assessed by the patients or investigator. The possible reasons for this apparent lack of benefit are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





732 - 735


Administration, Oral, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Cross-Over Studies, Double-Blind Method, Feasibility Studies, Female, Fluorouracil, Gastrointestinal Neoplasms, Glutamine, Humans, Leucovorin, Male, Mouth Mucosa, Pilot Projects, Stomatitis