Management of patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing chemotherapy: recommendations of the Associazione Italiana di Oncologia Medica (AIOM) and the Società Italiana di Nefrologia (SIN)

ESMO Open. 2017 Jul 19;2(3):e000167. doi: 10.1136/esmoopen-2017-000167. eCollection 2017.


Background: The overall risk of some cancers is increased in patients receiving regular dialysis treatment due to chronic oxidative stress, a weakened immune system and enhanced genomic damage. These patients could benefit from the same antineoplastic treatment delivered to patients with normal renal function, but a better risk/benefit ratio could be achieved by establishing specific guidelines. Key considerations are which chemotherapeutic agent to use, adjustment of dosages and timing of dialysis in relation to the administration of chemotherapy.

Methods: We have reviewed available data present in the literature, including recommendations and expert opinions on cancer risk and use of chemotherapeutic agents in patients with end-stage renal disease. Experts selected by the boards of the societies provided additional information which helped greatly in clarifying some issues on which clear-cut information was missing or available data were conflicting.

Results: Data on the optimal use of chemotherapeutic agents or on credible schemes of polychemotherapy in haemodialysed patients are sparse and mainly derive from case reports or small case series. However, recommendations on dosing and timing of dialysis can be proposed for the most prescribed chemotherapeutic agents.

Discussion: The use of chemotherapeutic agents as single agents, or in combination, can be safely given in patients with end-stage renal disease. Appropriate dosage adjustments should be considered based on drug dialysability and pharmacokinetics. Coordinated care between oncologists, nephrologists and pharmacists is of pivotal importance to optimise drug delivery and timing of dialysis.

Keywords: chemotherapy; dosing adjustament; end-stage renal disease; hemodialysis.