Purpose: Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is a side effect related to administration of the adjuvant temozolomide (TMZ) in patients affected by glioblastoma. After chemoradiotherapy, adjuvant TMZ is administered as an oral multiple-day regimen, and TMZ-associated CINV may interfere with the continuation of chemotherapy, with potentially negative consequences on clinical efficacy. The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of palonosetron for prevention of CINV-induced by adjuvant TMZ. Methods: From March 2007 to August 2008, 33 patients with confirmed glioblastoma and eligible for adjuvant treatment with TMZ were enrolled in the study. All patients with responding or stable disease after concomitant radiotherapy plus daily TMZ (75 mg/m2) received a single i.v. bolus 0.25 mg of palonosetron 30 min before the beginning of adjuvant TMZ (150-200 mg/m2/day for five consecutive days every 4 weeks). The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients with complete response (CR), defined as no emetic episodes and no rescue medication during the overall phase (0-168 h). Secondary endpoints included CR during the 0-120 h and 0-168 h phases and complete control (CC; CR and no more than mild nausea) during the 0-120 h, 120-168 h, and 0-168 h phases. Results: Thirty-three patients were enrolled in the study (median age 57.6 years, 23 male and 10 female, median Karnofsky Performance Status=80). Each patient was receiving fixed doses of dexamethasone (range 2-8 mg/day). CR in the 0-120 h, 120-168 h, and 0-168 h phases was seen in 91% of patients. CC was observed in 88%, 91%, and 88% of cases during the 0-120 h, 120-168 h, and 0-168 h phases, respectively. Anti-emetic prophylaxis with palonosetron was well tolerated and the most frequent adverse event was grade 1-2 headache reported by seven patients (21%). Conclusion: A single dose of palonosetron before the initiation of multiple oral doses of TMZ, in patients on treatment with steady doses of dexamethasone, provides a high protection against CINV throughout the overall phase (0-168 h). The pharmacological profile of palonosetron, compared to first-generation 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, may have an impact on its clinical efficacy.
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