Is an antiemetic prophylactic treatment needed for patients submitted to consecutive days of 5-fluorouracil? An observational study

Verena De Angelis, Fausto Roila, Maurizio Tonato, Enzo Ballatori, Albano Del Favero, S. Tumolo, L. Meneghetti, D. Negri, S. Della Gaspera, C. Presot, G. Muran, A. Lucenti, G. Ciccarese, M. A. Palladino, S. Porrozzi, R. Sabbatini, R. Depenni, M. Federico, V. Silingardi, E. SansoniM. Maltoni, C. Milandri, D. Amadori, R. Sabbioni, R. Nortilli, G. L. Cetto, L. Dogliotti, T. Buniva, G. Gorzegno, M. Lopez, A. Amodio, F. Conti, C. M. Foggi, A. Giglio, L. De Sio, P. Manente, G. Bernardo, M. R. Strada, G. Villani, L. Gallo, L. Merlini, C. Caroti, S. Mazzotta, R. Forcignanò, G. Quarta, C. Pacilio, G. Iodice, G. Rosati, P. Malacarne, D. Donati, R. Maccaferri, G. Comella, R. Casaretti, I. Carreca, L. Rausa, V. Fosser, S. Schiavon, F. M. Gioffré, A. Venuti, G. Amunni, A. Villanucci, A. Contu, A. Pazzola, G. Palmiotti, G. Garofolo, C. Epifani, M. Giordano, M. Antimi, M. Minelli, F. De Vita, G. Catalano, G. Cruciani, L. Montanari, P. Marchei, S. Amici, P. Alessadroni, M. Ceccolini, M. T. Cattaneo, B. Orlandini, B. Agostara, M. Marzi, M. S. Dionisi, F. Di Costanzo, G. Troccoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aims and Background. The necessity of an antiemetic prophylaxis in patients treated with chemotherapy of low emetogenic potential, such as 5-fluorouracil ± folinic acid fractionated over several consecutive days, is controversial. The aim of the study was to evaluate the therapeutic behavior of oncologists on this issue. Methods. All consecutive in and out patients who started chemotherapy in 33 Italian oncological departments from June 24 to July 6, 1996, were studied. The antiemetic prescription pattern and its effectiveness, in patients submitted to 5-fluorouracil ± folinic acid were evaluated. Results. Of the 1956 patients submitted to cancer chemotherapy, 259 patients received 5-fluorouracil ± folinic acid. Of these, 186 patients were treated for 5 consecutive days, 47 for 4 days, 20 for 3 days and 6 for 2 days. A total of 219 (84.5%) received an antiemetic prophylaxis: 43.4% a 5-HT3 antagonist ± steroids, 37.5% an antidopaminergic drug, 10.9% a steroid ± antidopaminergic drug, and 8.2% other drugs. Only 40 patients (15.5%) did not receive an antiemetic prophylaxis. Overall complete protection from vomiting/nausea was 225/259 (86.9%)/163/259 (62.9%). The complete protection from vomiting/nausea during the 5 days in the 186 patients was not significantly different among patients receiving or not an antiemetic prophylaxis (88.1%/64.9% vs 88.9%/55.6%). At unifactorial analysis, the previous experience of vomiting/nausea caused by chemotherapy was found to be a significant prognostic factor. In fact, overall complete protection from vomiting/nausea was significantly inferior in patients who had previous experience of vomiting/nausea (65.1%/35.0%) with respect to those who did not (91.2%/75.4%, P <0.001/ > 0.001, respectively). Conclusions. The study showed that in clinical practice patients submitted to 5-fluorouracil ± folinic acid obtained a similar high protection from vomiting and nausea regardless of whether or not antiemetic prophylaxis was given. It would be therefore reasonable not to treat patients undergoing such chemotherapy, whereas patients with previous experience of vomiting/nausea caused by chemotherapy should be given an antiemetic prophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-382
Number of pages4
JournalTumori
Volume87
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords

  • 5-HT3 antagonists
  • Antiemetics
  • Clinical practice
  • Effectiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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  • Cite this

    De Angelis, V., Roila, F., Tonato, M., Ballatori, E., Del Favero, A., Tumolo, S., Meneghetti, L., Negri, D., Della Gaspera, S., Presot, C., Muran, G., Lucenti, A., Ciccarese, G., Palladino, M. A., Porrozzi, S., Sabbatini, R., Depenni, R., Federico, M., Silingardi, V., ... Troccoli, G. (2001). Is an antiemetic prophylactic treatment needed for patients submitted to consecutive days of 5-fluorouracil? An observational study. Tumori, 87(6), 379-382.