Dietetic management in gastrointestinal complications from antimalignant chemotherapy

Nutr Hosp. Jan-Feb 2012;27(1):65-75. doi: 10.1590/S0212-16112012000100008.


Antineoplastic chemotherapy (CT) represents the systemic treatment of malignant tumors. It can be used alone or combined with surgery and / or radiotherapy. The cytotoxic agents used in chemotherapy work on both cancerous cells and noncancerous cells of the body, generally resulting in high toxicity. The biological aggressiveness of chemotherapy particularly affects rapidly replicating cells, such as those of the digestive tract, resulting in adverse effects that impair food intake, leading to compromised nutritional status and which may lead to cachexia. The main toxic effects of chemotherapy in the gastrointestinal tract include nausea, vomiting -these are the most frequent- constipation, diarrhea, xerostomia, mucositis, dysphagia and anorexia. Given the high frequency of such effects, nutritional intervention should be an integral part of cancer treatment, to maintain and/or improve the patient's nutritional status and reduce or minimize the side effects caused by treatment. Accordingly, the goal of this study is to review dietetic conduct in the process of caring for patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia / chemically induced
  • Anorexia / diet therapy
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Constipation / chemically induced
  • Constipation / diet therapy
  • Deglutition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Deglutition Disorders / diet therapy
  • Diarrhea / chemically induced
  • Diarrhea / diet therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Humans
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Nausea / diet therapy
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Nutritional Status
  • Stomatitis / chemically induced
  • Stomatitis / diet therapy
  • Vomiting / chemically induced
  • Vomiting / diet therapy
  • Xerostomia / chemically induced
  • Xerostomia / diet therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents