The role of diet on the clinical pharmacology of oral antineoplastic agents

Antonio Ruggiero, Maria G. Cefalo, Paola Coccia, Stefano Mastrangelo, Palma Maurizi, Riccardo Riccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: The number of oral anticancer agents has greatly increased in recent years. It is a well-known fact that food intake can induce significant variations in the bioavailability of these drugs. The aim of this review is to describe the interactions between diet and oral anticancer drugs in terms of the possible effects of such interactions on reducing the antineoplastic activity of the drug or increasing its side effects. Methods: This was an analytical study of the numerous mechanisms leading to changes in the bioavailability of oral antineoplastic agents due to diet. Results: Food-drug interactions can induce a delay, decrease or increase in the absorption of the oral chemotherapeutic agent. The concomitant intake of food and antineoplastic drugs influence the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug processes depending on the composition of the food consumed and the specific interactions of the food with transport mechanisms (p-glycoprotein, multidrug resistance proteins) and intestinal enzymatic systems (cytochrome P450). Conclusions: In prescribing an oral anticancer agent, clinicians must consider the possibility that the consumption of specific food items has the potential to interfere with the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the prescribed drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Antineoplastic drug
  • Diet
  • Oral chemotherapy
  • Pharmacokinetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology

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