Background: Glutamine-supplemented total parenteral nutrition (TPN) improved the nitrogen balance in catabolic situations. In animal studies, parenteral glutamine supplementation appeared to maintain gut integrity. This study was performed to evaluate the possible positive effects of glutamine supplementation in catabolic hematologic patients.
Methods: This was a prospective double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study, in which 20 treatment cycles in unselected hematologic patients with intensive chemotherapy were studied. Glutamine was given as a dipeptide. Patients were randomized per treatment cycle to receive isonitrogenous TPN (0.272 g nitrogen/kg of body weight) and isoenergetic TPN (2200 kcal NPE/day) without or with 40 g L-alanyl-L-glutamine (26 g glutamine) until the neutrophil count was greater than 0.5 x 10(9)/L. The daily oral food intake was recorded and analyzed carefully. Toxicity grades for performance status, mucositis, and diarrhea were scored according to the World Health Organization classification.
Results: No differences in neutropenic period, fever, extra antibiotics, and toxicity scores were observed, except for a gain in body weight per treatment cycle in favor of the glutamine-supplemented TPN. No side effects or allergic reactions were noted after the dipeptide administration.
Conclusion: Supplementation of glutamine dipeptide was safe but had no significant positive clinical effect.