Clinical roundtable monograph. Treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a post-MASCC 2010 discussion.
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is one of the most common and troubling side effects of treatment, and the side effect cancer patients tend to fear most. An improved understanding of the pathophysiology underlying CINV, together with a clear definition of the risk for nausea and vomiting associated with specific chemotherapeutic agents, has for allowed the development of specific and effective antiemetic regimens. Antiemesis is most effective when used prophylactically, a principle shared among CINV management guidelines. Several antiemetic drug classes are available; among the most effective of these are serotonin (5HT₃) receptor antagonists, neurokinin 1 (NK₁) receptor antagonists, and steroids (primarily dexamethasone), although others are commonly used as well. When choosing an appropriate antiemetic regimen, clinicians should consider patient-specific factors such as sex and prior history of CINV, as well as treatment-specific factors such as the emetogenic potential of each chemotherapeutic agent. Using these factors, clinicians can follow the available algorithms included in guidelines from groups such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer. Ongoing and future clinical trials will be pivotal in helping to further delineate the optimal strategies to prevent and manage CINV in cancer patients.