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Update on the management of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting – focus on palonosetron

Authors Zhou M, Popovic M, Pasetka M, Pulenzas N, Ahrari S, Chow E, DeAngelis C

Received 31 December 2014

Accepted for publication 5 March 2015

Published 5 May 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 713—729


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Michelle Zhou, Marko Popovic, Mark Pasetka, Natalie Pulenzas, Soha Ahrari, Edward Chow, Carlo DeAngelis

Department of Pharmacy, Odette Cancer Center, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Purpose: Nausea and vomiting are major adverse effects of chemotherapy and can greatly impact patients’ quality of life. Although chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) prevalence is high, treatment remains difficult. Palonosetron is a 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor antagonist (5-HT3RA) approved for treatment of CINV. The purpose of this review is to discuss existing and emerging therapeutic options, and examine studies focusing on palonosetron with regards to efficacy, pharmacology, tolerability, safety, and patient-derived outcomes.
Methods: A literature search was conducted using Ovid MEDLINE and EMBASE to identify relevant studies using palonosetron alone or in combination with other antiemetics. Studies were extracted if they included complete response (CR), complete control (CC), no nausea, no vomiting, and no rescue medications as an endpoint. Studies were also included if safety endpoints were examined.
Results: Palonosetron alone has been shown to improve CR and CC rates for patients receiving low, moderate, or high emetogenic chemotherapy. Rates were further improved with the addition of dexamethasone, a corticosteroid. Furthermore, the addition of neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists, such as netupitant markedly improved efficacy profiles compared to palonosetron alone. Aprepitant is an antiemetic that has exhibited positive results in combination with palonosetron. Recently, a new drug consisting of netupitant and palonosetron (NEPA) has demonstrated significantly more efficacious prevention of CINV. Regardless of the combination, palonosetron has been well tolerated. The most common adverse events were constipation, headache, fatigue, and dizziness, with the majority of patients describing them as only mild or moderate.
Conclusion: Palonosetron, alone or with other antiemetics, has improved CINV treatment due to its ability to significantly reduce delayed phases of CINV, compared to similar 5-HT3RAs. Palonosetron is both more effective than first generation 5-HT3RAs and safer, as it results in a smaller prolongation of the QTc interval, compared to other 5-HT3RAs.

Keywords: chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, palonosetron, efficacy, safety, pharmacology, patient-reported outcomes

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