UConn HealthThe Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center

Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer/Oral Oncology Program

Photo of Douglas E. Peterson, D.M.D., Ph.D.Douglas E. Peterson, D.M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Peterson is Professor of Oral Medicine, School of Dental Medicine and Co-chair of the Program in Head and Neck Cancer and Oral Oncology in the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health.

Dr. Peterson received his D.M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 and 1976, respectively. He was awarded Diplomate status in the American Board of Oral Medicine in 1974. From 1976 to 1989 he was a faculty member in the Cancer Center and the Dental School of the University of Maryland. Dr. Peterson served as Professor and Head of the Department of Oral Diagnosis at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine from 1989 to 2005 and as the Interim Department Head from 2006 to 2007.

Dr. Peterson’s primary academic responsibilities are oral complications in cancer patients. He has been involved in clinical trial research in the oncology setting for over 30 years, and has served as reviewer of grant applications for the NIDCR and NCI over the past two decades including roles as study section chair. In addition, is a Special Government Employee for the United States Food & Drug Administration relative to mucositis drug clinical trials. He is the author of over 130 peer reviewed publications and 125 abstracts, and the editor of two books. During the past five years he has been the Principal Investigator on two multi-center, international clinical studies involving drug development for oral mucositis in cancer patients. He was the Chair of the NIH-funded Conference Oral Complications of Emerging Cancer Therapies in April 2009, and is Editor of the Conference-based JNCI Monograph that is being prepared for publication in 2011. Dr. Peterson is lead writer for the NCI PDQ website Oral Complications of Chemotherapy and Head/Neck Radiation.


  • Professor, Oral Medicine, Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dental Medicine
  •  Co-chair, Program in Head and Neck Cancer and Oral Oncology, Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center


  • Oral Medicine

Diplomate, American Board of Oral Medicine

D.M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

University of Pennsylvania Hospital


  • John Dempsey Hospital

Honors and Awards

  • CancerCare: Physician of the Year Award (2006)
  • Visiting Professor, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina (2006)
  • Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer Distinguished Achievement Award (2008)
  • Keynote address: Israeli Society of Oral Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel (2008)
  • Invited Prestige Seminar: “Meet the Oncology Expert”, Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels, Belgium (2009)
  • Scientific Committee Chair for the 2nd Congress of the Hellenic Association of Supportive Care of the Oral Cavity in Cancer, Athens, Greece (2010)
  • Invited honorary lecture: European Association of Oral Medicine, London, England (2010)
  • Faculty Mentor, ADEAGies Foundation/AADR Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program (2010-2011).

Selected Publications
Peterson DE, Doerr W, Hovan A, Pinto A, Saunders D, Elting LS, Spijkervet FKL, Brennan MT. Osteoradionecrosis in cancer patients: The evidence base for treatment-dependent frequency, current management strategies and future studies. Supp Care Cancer, in press.

Peterson DE and Lalla RV. Oral mucositis: The new paradigms. Curr Opin Oncol., in press.
Peterson DE, Bensadoun R-J,Roila F, on behalf of the ESMO Guidelines Working Group.

Management of oral and gastrointestinal mucositis: ESMO Clinical Recommendations. Ann Oncol. 2010; 21 (Supplement 5): v257–v261.

Peterson DE (writing group chair, editions 1 and 2). Oral complications of chemotherapy and head/neck radiation. NCI PDQ: cancer.gov/cancerinfo/pdq/supportivecare. (3rd edition pending submission May 2010 based on Dr. Peterson’s lead role on the 1st and 2nd editions).

Peterson D and Lalla R.  Overview of complications of systemic chemotherapy. In: Davies AN and Epstein JB (eds.). Oral complications of cancer and its management. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2010; pp. 123-127.

Lalla RV, Pilbeam CC, Walsh SJ, Sonis ST, Keefe DMK, Peterson DE. Role of the cyclooxygenase pathway in chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis: A pilot study. Support Care Cancer. 2010;18:95-103.

Peterson DE, Barker NP, Akhmadullina LI et al. Phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of recombinant human intestinal trefoil factor oral spray for prevention of oral mucositis in patients with colorectal cancer who are receiving fluorouracil-based chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27:4333-4338.

Peterson DE, Bensadoun RJ, Roila F; ESMO Guidelines Working Group. Management of oral and gastrointestinal mucositis: ESMO clinical recommendations. Ann Oncol. 2009; 20 Suppl 4:174-7.

Rankin KV, Epstein J, Huber MA, Peterson DE, Plemons JM, Redding SS, Sanfillippo NJ, Schubert MM, Sonis ST. Oral health in cancer therapy. Tex Dent J. 2009;126:389-97, 406-19, 422-37.

Schubert MM and Peterson DE. Oral complications. In: Thomas' Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. 4th edition. Appelbaum F, Forman SJ, Negrin RS, Blume KG (eds.) Malden: Blackwell Scientific Publ. 2009; pp. 1589-1607.

Brown CG, Beck SL, Peterson DE, McGuire DB, Dudley WN, Mooney KH. Patterns of sore mouth in outpatients with cancer receiving chemotherapy. Supp Care Cancer 2009;17: 413-428.

Dudley WN, McGuire DB, Peterson DE, Wong B. Application of multilevel growth-curve analysis in cancer treatment toxicities: The exemplar of oral mucositis and pain. Oncol Nurs Forum 2009;36:E11-E19.

Migliorati CA, Schubert MM, Peterson DE. Bisphosphonate osteonecrosis (BON): Unanswered questions and research possibilities. Rev Recent Clin Trials 2009; 4:99-109.

Brown CG, McGuire DB, Peterson DE, Beck SL, Dudley WN, Mooney KH. The experience of a sore mouth and associated symptoms in patients with cancer receiving outpatient chemotherapy. Cancer Nurs. 2009;32:259-270.

Peterson DE and Lalla RV. Mucositis in patients receiving high-dose cancer therapy. Lyman GH and Crawford J (eds). Cancer Supportive Care: Advances in Therapeutic Strategies. New York City: Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. 2008; pp. 187-205.

Lalla RV and Peterson DE. Oral symptoms. In: Walsh D (ed). Palliative Medicine. Phil: Elsevier, 2008; pp. 937-946.

Papadimitrakopoulou VA, William WN Jr, Dannenberg AJ, Lippman SM, Lee JJ, Ondrey FG, Peterson DE, Feng L, Atwell A, El-Naggar AK, Nathan CA, Helman JI, Du B, Yueh B, Boyle JO. Pilot randomized phase II study of celecoxib in oral premalignant lesions. Clin Cancer Res. 2008;14:2095-2101.

Peterson DE, Bensadoun RJ, Roila F; ESMO Guidelines Working Group. Management of oral and gastrointestinal mucositis: ESMO clinical recommendations. Ann Oncol. 2008;19 Suppl.:ii122-125.

Lalla RV, Sonis ST, Peterson DE. Management of oral mucositis in patients who have cancer. Dent Clin N Am. 2008;52:61-77.

Paper icon View more publications, see Pubmed listing.

Clinical Interests
Oral complications in cancer patients

Research Interests

Clinical Research

  • Mucosal injury in cancer patients

Basic Science Research

  • Molecular network pathways and mucosal injury caused by high-dose cancer therapies

Patient Resources

At UConn Health

On the Web

A-Z INDEX        UCONN HEALTH        TEXT-ONLY University of Connecticut Health Center
Disclaimer   Privacy Notice
Maps & Directions