Author(s): Hesketh PJ, Kris MG, Grunberg SM, Beck T, Hainsworth JD,
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Abstract PURPOSE: To propose a classification of the acute emetogenicity of antineoplastic chemotherapy agents, and to develop an algorithm to define the emetogenicity of combination chemotherapy regimens. METHODS: A Medline search was conducted to identify (1) clinical trials that used chemotherapy as single-agent therapy, and (2) major reviews of antiemetic therapy. The search was limited to patients who received commonly used doses of chemotherapy agents, primarily by short (< 3 hours) intravenous infusions. Based on review of this information and our collective clinical experience, we assigned chemotherapy agents to one of five emetogenic levels by consensus. A preliminary algorithm to determine the emetogenicity of combination chemotherapy regimens was then designed by consensus. A final algorithm was developed after we analyzed a data base composed of patients treated on the placebo arms of four randomized antiemetic trials. RESULTS: Chemotherapy agents were divided into five levels: level 1 (< 10\% of patients experience acute [< or = 24 hours after chemotherapy] emesis without antiemetic prophylaxis); level 2 (10\% to 30\%); level 3 (30\% to 60\%); level 4 (60\% to 90\%); and level 5 (> 90\%). For combinations, the emetogenic level was determined by identifying the most emetogenic agent in the combination and then assessing the relative contribution of the other agents. The following rules apply: (1) level 1 agents do not contribute to the emetogenic level of a combination; (2) adding > or = one level 2 agent increases the emetogenicity of the combination by one level greater than the most emetogenic agent in the combination; and (3) adding level 3 or 4 agents increases the emetogenicity of the combination by one level per agent. CONCLUSION: The proposed classification schema provides a practical means to determine the emetogenic potential of individual chemotherapy agents and combination regimens during the 24 hours after administration. This system can serve as a framework for the development of antiemetic guidelines.
This article was published in J Clin Oncol
and referenced in Advances in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety