Purpose: To update the 1999 American Society of Clinical Oncology guideline for antiemetics in oncology.
Update methodology: The Update Committee completed a review and analysis of data published from 1998 thru February 2006. The literature review focused on published randomized controlled trials, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses of published phase II and phase III randomized controlled trials.
Recommendations: The three-drug combination of a 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 (5-HT(3)) serotonin receptor antagonist, dexamethasone, and aprepitant is recommended before chemotherapy of high emetic risk. For persons receiving chemotherapy of high emetic risk, there is no group of patients for whom agents of lower therapeutic index are appropriate first-choice antiemetics. These agents should be reserved for patients intolerant of or refractory to 5-HT3 serotonin receptor antagonists, neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists, and dexamethasone. The three-drug combination of a 5-HT3 receptor serotonin antagonist, dexamethasone, and aprepitant is recommended for patients receiving an anthracycline and cyclophosphamide. For patients receiving other chemotherapy of moderate emetic risk, the Update Committee continues to recommend the two-drug combination of a 5-HT3 receptor serotonin antagonist and dexamethasone. In all patients receiving cisplatin and all other agents of high emetic risk, the two-drug combination of dexamethasone and aprepitant is recommended for the prevention of delayed emesis. The Update Committee no longer recommends the combination of a 5-HT3 serotonin receptor antagonist and dexamethasone for the prevention of delayed emesis after chemotherapeutic agents of high emetic risk. CONCLUSION The Update Committee recommends that clinicians administer antiemetics while considering patients' emetic risk categories and other characteristics.