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Amifostine protects salivation in irradiated head and neck cancer patients

The thiol compound amifostine has been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of dry mouth when used during the radiotherapy course of patient undergoing radiotherapy that encompasses the salivary glands – particularly the parotids, as these provide 80% of the saliva. This observation is one of some importance as the recent introduction of chemo-radiotherapy programmes for this disease has led to increased toxicity; research aimed at reducing toxicity is much in demand.