Glutamine Supplementation in Cancer Patients Receiving Bone Marrow Transplantation and High Dose Chemotherapy

J Nutr. 2001 Sep;131(9 Suppl):2578S-84S; discussion 2590S. doi: 10.1093/jn/131.9.2578S.


Glutamine supplementation of enteral and parenteral nutrition support has received increased attention in the research community over the past decade. Glutamine may become a conditionally essential nutrient during certain catabolic states, including after bone marrow transplantation (BMT). The administration of enteral or parenteral glutamine seems safe and also potentially efficacious in some patient groups undergoing intensive treatment for cancer. Studies indicate that adjunctive glutamine treatment may improve nitrogen retention, decrease clinical infection and length of hospital stay and reduce the incidence and severity of mucositis after BMT and high dose chemotherapy. Although not all studies demonstrate benefit, there are sufficient positive data to suggest that this nutrient should be considered in the metabolic support of many individuals undergoing the catabolic process of marrow transplantation. Given the available data, randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trials of glutamine-enriched nutrition in patients receiving BMT and high dose chemotherapy protocols are indicated to further define the utility of this amino acid as adjunctive therapy. Studies of glutamine nutrition combined with current combinations of cytoreductive agents and hematopoietic growth factors in BMT will be particularly pertinent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diarrhea / prevention & control
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Glutamine / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total


  • Glutamine