Efficacy and safety of aprepitant in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Pharmacotherapy. 2013 Sep;33(9):893-901. doi: 10.1002/phar.1294. Epub 2013 May 26.


Study objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of aprepitant added to standard antiemetic regimens used in high-dose chemotherapy for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT).

Design: Retrospective medical record review.

Setting: Hematology ward of a university hospital in Japan.

Patients: Of 88 patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy followed by allo-HSCT, 46 received aprepitant and granisetron as antiemetic therapy (between April 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011), and 42 received granisetron alone (between April 1, 2008, and March 31, 2010).

Interventions: Patients in both groups received 3 mg of granisetron intravenously 30 minutes before the administration of anticancer drugs. In the aprepitant group, 125 mg of aprepitant was administered orally 60-90 minutes before the administration of the first moderately to highly emetogenic anticancer drug. On the following days, 80 mg of aprepitant was administered orally every morning. The mean administration duration of aprepitant was 3.3 days (range 3-6 days).

Measurements and main results: The primary objective was to evaluate the percentage of patients who achieved complete response (CR; no vomiting and none to mild nausea). The CR rate in the aprepitant group was significantly higher than that in the control group (48% vs 24%, p=0.02). Multivariate analysis showed that nonprophylactic use of aprepitant was associated with failure to achieve CR (odds ratio [OR] 2.92; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-7.99, p=0.03). The frequency of abdominal pain was lower in the aprepitant group (9% vs 25%, p=0.03). Rates of other frequently observed adverse drug events were similar between groups. There was no significant difference in neutrophil engraftment (median 18 vs 17 days), platelet engraftment (median 32 vs 32 days), the incidence of acute graft-versus-host-disease (63% vs 55%, p=0.52), viral infection (74% vs 67%, p=0.49), or 1-year overall survival (63% vs 62%, p=0.90) between the two groups.

Conclusions: The addition of aprepitant to granisetron increases the antiemetic effect without influencing transplantation-related toxicities in allo-HSCT.

Keywords: allogeneic stem cell transplantation; aprepitant; high-dose chemotherapy; vomiting.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiemetics / adverse effects*
  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Aprepitant
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Granisetron / therapeutic use
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morpholines / adverse effects*
  • Morpholines / therapeutic use*
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Nausea / drug therapy
  • Nausea / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transplantation, Homologous / adverse effects
  • Vomiting / chemically induced
  • Vomiting / drug therapy
  • Vomiting / prevention & control


  • Antiemetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Morpholines
  • Aprepitant
  • Granisetron