Previous studies have reported the alteration of the four basic tastes (sweet, salty, sour and bitter) in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) during radiotherapy. However, there has been no investigation on the function of umami taste, a novel basic taste recognized recently, during head and neck irradiation. To investigate the recognition threshold of umami and the four basic tastes at different irradiation dose intervals during radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. In 30 patients with malignant neoplasm of head and neck, objective taste thresholds were examined by use of a whole-mouth method at pre-radiotherapy, irradiation doses at 15, 30, 45, and 60 Gy, respectively. Subjective taste loss and some distresses were recorded simultaneously. Sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tastes showed temporarily and slightly increased thresholds during the treatment, but no statistical difference was found between the threshold at pre-radiotherapy and that at 15, 30, 45, and 60 Gy in any taste quality (all P > 0.05). Significantly impaired threshold of umami taste was revealed at 30 Gy (P < 0.05) and remained throughout the following treatment (at 45 and 60 Gy, both P < 0.01). Subjective taste impairment, appetite loss and satisfaction ...Continue Reading
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