The role of second-generation 5-HT3 receptor antagonists in managing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in hematological malignancies
Compared with solid tumor patients, those with hematological malignancies are at particular risk of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) because of their young age, exposure to highly-emetogenic induction, consolidation and salvage regimens, the high-dose conditioning regimens used before stem cell transplantation (SCT), and the heavy psychological burden of such treatments. In the absence of prophylaxis, around 75% of patients undergoing SCT experience delayed CINV. With first-generation 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, only about 20% are completely protected from nausea and vomiting, and this frequent and debilitating adverse event has not been fully addressed. In contrast to solid tumors, there are no internationally agreed guidelines for the prevention and treatment of CINV in hematological malignancies. Work on a consensus is urgently required. The second-generation 5-HT3 antagonist palonosetron is highly effective in preventing CINV in patients with solid tumors. The extended half-life of this agent and its mechanisms of action including allosteric binding, positive cooperativity and 5-HT3 receptor internalization, may make it particularly effective in controlling delayed CINV. Although controlled comparisons against first-generation 5HT(3) agents have not yet been conducted in the setting of SCT, available evidence suggests that palonosetron may prove beneficial in preventing CINV in high risk patients with hematological malignancies. (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.