Article Abstract

Managing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in head and neck cancer patients receiving cisplatin chemotherapy with concurrent radiation

Authors: Jordan Stinson, Kelvin Chan, Justin Lee, Ronald Chow, Paul Cheon, Angie Giotis, Mark Pasetka, Bo Angela Wan, Edward Chow, Carlo DeAngelis


Background: The purpose was to retrospectively examine the anti-emetic regimens prescribed for prophylaxis of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) for head and neck cancer patients receiving moderate- or high-emetogenic chemotherapy (MEC/HEC) along with concurrent radiation treatment at an outpatient ambulatory care center to determine the efficacy of anti-emetics prescribed.
Methods: Consecutive patients with head and neck cancers who initiated cisplatin chemotherapy with concurrent radiation treatment between January 2013 and June 2015 were investigated. Patients’ anti-emetic use and occurrence of CINV was extracted from available clinical documentation. Patients were divided into two cohorts: CISPL-HIGH (n=161), and CISPL-WEEKLY (n=38).
Results: A total of 199 head and neck cancer patients (158 male, 41 female) were included in the analysis (mean age =59 years). In the CISPL-HIGH cohort, 33 males (26%) and 16 females (49%) experienced CINV. In the CISPL-WEEKLY cohort, four males (13%) and two females (25%) experienced CINV. Nausea occurred in 71 patients (62 HEC and 9 MEC). The odds of achieving complete response (no nausea or vomiting) were 3.5 (P<0.0016) times more likely for patients receiving MEC. Overall, the complete response rate for the prophylaxis in MEC and HEC was 61% and 31%, respectively. Anti-emetic changes occurred in 34% and 11% of patients receiving HEC and MEC, respectively.
Conclusions: In the current study CINV control for patients receiving HEC was sub-optimal. Changes to our prophylactic antiemetic regimens may help improve patient outcomes.