Radiation Fibrosis Syndrome

Photobiomodulation Therapy to Mitigate Radiation Fibrosis Syndrome



  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine, New York University, New York, New York, USA.
  • 2Department of Radiation Oncology, New York University Perlmutter Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.
  • 3Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA.
  • 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA.
  • 5Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, Hasselt University, Hasselt, Belgium.
  • 6Associate Dean for Translational Research, University of Pennsylvania of Dental Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Objective: We evaluated the role of photobiomodulation (PBM) in radiation fibrosis syndrome (RFS).

Background: Radiation therapy (RT) is an important treatment utilized in over half of newly diagnosed cancers. Despite its benefits, patients treated with RT may experience acute and chronic significant side effects depending on both treatment- and patient-related factors. RFS is an important long-term side effect of RT, which can adversely impact patient’s quality of life and organ function. With improved oncologic outcomes and survival for cancer patients after radiation, there is an unmet need to address long-term side effects of RT, particularly RFS.

Results: Photobiomodulation (PBM) using low energy, nonionizing light primarily in the visible (especially red) or near-infrared spectrum has been demonstrated to decrease acute side effects of radiation in rigorously conducted phase III randomized studies; however, its potential benefit in ameliorating chronic radiation side effects, particularly RFS remains to be investigated.

Conclusions: This review summarizes the in vitro data, preclinical animal studies and clinical reports, which showcase the potential benefits of PBM treatments in preventing and reversing RFS.

Keywords: photobiomodulation (PBM); radiation fibrosis syndrome (RFS); radiation therapy.