LI-TASTE Study: Light for Taste

Study Purpose

Rationale: In 2020, 115,000 Dutch patients were diagnosed with cancer. Up to 85% of patients treated with radiotherapy involving the head and neck, chemotherapy or stem-celltransplantation (SCT) suffer from taste disorders (dysgeusia). Dysgeusia is one of the most distressing adverse effects of cancer therapy, may be long-lasting and may contribute to malnutrition and decreased QoL. Dysgeusia pathobiology is complex and relates to direct damage to taste buds by anticancer therapies, neuropathy and/or mucosal infection and inflammation. Hyposalivation and concurrent medications may also play a role as well as smoking and poor oral health. Zinc suppletion, clonazepam and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabionol have only limited success. Thus, dysgeusia in cancer patients represents a significant unmet clinical need. Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) using specific wavelengths of red/near infrared light reduces oxidative stress and increases ATP in cells, which improves cell metabolism and reduces inflammation. PBMT is safe and effective for the prevention of oral mucositis and is linked to pain reduction, nerve damage recovery and improved wound healing. There is emerging evidence for PBMT to improve taste, likely based on its regenerative effects on taste buds and nerves involved in taste function. However, there is need for more reliable data on the effect of PBMT on taste. Objective: Assess the efficacy of PBMT to prevent/ameliorate dysgeusia in patients with multiple myeloma treated in Amsterdam UMC with conditioning chemo(radio)therapy followed by autologous stem-cell-transplantation. Study design: Single centre, prospective, longitudinal, double-blinded, randomized, controlled study. Study population: Recipients of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT) for the treatment of multiple myeloma in Amsterdam UMC. Intervention: Patients will be blinded to receive either PBMT or sham-PBMT. Main study parameters/endpoints: Objective and subjective taste function and taste associated covariables and their impact on QoL will be assessed. Nature and extent of the burden and risks associated with participation, benefit and group relatedness: The application of PBMT to the (peri)oral region is safe and comes with no relevant side effects. The application of PBMT or sham-PBMT will take about 10-15 minutes per treatment. The measurements at the start of the study and at the visit six weeks after SCT will last about 30 minutes. Scoring the PROMS (2 questionnaires of 1-5 questions) during hospitalization will take about five minutes per day; 2 questionnaires (30+15+ 5 questions), 10 minutes, weekly. Patients do not need to come to the hospital specifically for the study, as they already have an appointment in the hospital.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • - Patients diagnosed with a haematological malignancy.
  • - > 18 years of age.
  • - Receiving HDM followed by SCT.
  • - Able and willing to give informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • - Having taste disorders not related to SCT (e.g. COVID-19) - History of a head and neck tumor treated with surgery and/or (chemo)radiation.
- Neurological diseases (e.g. Parkinson's disease)

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

Academic Centre for Dentistry in Amsterdam
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Principal Investigator Affiliation N/A
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Not yet recruiting

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Multiple Myeloma
Arms & Interventions


Experimental: Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT)

Patients will receive either PBMT or sham-PBMT during admission to the hospital. The oral cavity of the patients will be exposed to LED light using a new intra-oral device on the THOR Control Unit at the intensity of 50mW/m2 for 60 seconds per dose. Additionally, the perioral region will be exposed to LED light using an extra-oral device on the THOR Control Unit at the intensity of 50mW/m2 for 60 seconds per dose.

Sham Comparator: Sham-PBMT

Patients will receive either PBMT or sham-PBMT during admission to the hospital. The sham-PBMT is the placebo treatment and consists of light of the same colour (white light with a red filter), applied in the same way as in the experimental group.


Device: - LX2.3 Laser and LED Photobiomodulation System

The LX2.3 Laser and LED Photobiomodulation system by THOR Photomedicine Ltd is a CE marked product and has a long track record of safety, usability, and effectiveness.

Device: - LX2.3 Laser and LED Photobiomodulation System Sham-PBMT Setting

The sham setting consists of light of the same colour (white light with a red filter), applied in the same way as in the experimental group.

Contact Information

This trial has no sites locations listed at this time. If you are interested in learning more, you can contact the trial's primary contact:

Alexa Laheij, dr.


For additional contact information, you can also visit the trial on