Special Article

Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 19, Supplement 1, pp 37-42

First online:

Antiemetics in children receiving chemotherapy. MASCC/ESMO guideline update 2009

  • Karin JordanAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Oncology and Hematology, University of Halle Email author 
  • , Fausto RoilaAffiliated withDepartement of Oncology and Medical Oncology Division, Azienda Ospedaliera “S. Maria”
  • , Alexander MolassiotisAffiliated withSchool of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester
  • , Ernesto MaranzanoAffiliated withDepartement of Oncology and Radiation Oncology Centre, Azienda Ospedaliera “S. Maria”
  • , Rebecca A. Clark-SnowAffiliated withThe University of Kansas Cancer Center
  • , Petra FeyerAffiliated withDepartment of Radiotherapy, Nuclear Medicine, Vivantes Medical Center Berlin-Neukölln


Only a few studies have been carried out in children on the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). 5-HT3 receptor antagonists have been shown to be more efficacious and less toxic than metoclopramide, phenothiazines and cannabinoids. Most dose studies are available for the 5-HT3 receptor antagonists ondansetron and granisetron. The new 5-HT3 receptor antagonist palonosetron was evaluated in one comparative study so far showing promising activity. Combinations of a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist and dexamethasone showed increased efficacy with respect to a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist alone. All paediatric patients receiving chemotherapy of high or moderate emetogenic potential should receive a combination of a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist and dexamethasone to prevent acute emesis. No studies have specifically evaluated antiemetic drugs in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced delayed and anticipatory emesis in children. The role of the NK1 receptor antagonists in children has to be further investigated, although one small study is published so far, showing promising activity in the prevention of CINV with aprepitant. The new proposed guideline from the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer and the European Society of Clinical Oncology summarises the updated data from the literature and takes into consideration the existing guidelines.


Antiemetics for children submitted to chemotherapy Dexamethasone 5-HT3 receptor antagonists