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Efficacy of ginger for prophylaxis of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients receiving adriamycin–cyclophosphamide regimen: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study

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The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of ginger for reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in breast cancer patients receiving adriamycin and cyclophosphamide (AC) regimens.


We enrolled breast cancer patients receiving AC who experienced moderate to severe nausea or vomiting during the first chemotherapy cycle. Subjects were randomized to receive a 500-mg ginger capsule or placebo twice a day for 5 days starting on the first day of the second AC cycle and were switched to the other treatment in the third cycle. All participants also received ondansetron and dexamethasone for CINV prophylaxis. Nausea severity was recorded once a day during the first 5 days of each cycle. The primary outcome was reduction in nausea score.


Thirty-four subjects (68 cycles of AC) were enrolled. Mean (range) maximum nausea score in the first AC cycle was 58 (40–90). Thirty-three subjects (97 %) received the same AC doses in the second as in the third cycle. Mean (±standard error) maximum nausea scores in patients receiving ginger and placebo were 35.36 (±4.43) and 32.17 (±3.71), respectively. The difference in mean maximum nausea scores was 3 (95 % confidence interval, −3 to 9; P = 0.3). There were no significant differences between ginger and placebo in terms of vomiting incidence and severity, rescue medication use, chemotherapy compliance, and adverse events.


Ginger (500 mg) twice daily was safe, but conferred no additional benefit in terms of reducing nausea severity in breast cancer patients receiving AC and ondansetron and dexamethasone for CINV prophylaxis.

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The authors thank the Government Pharmaceutical Organization for providing ginger capsules and placebo, Siriraj Cancer Center for providing funding support, the personnel of the Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, for coordinating the study, and Mr. Suthipol Udompanthurak for performing statistical analyses of the data.

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Correspondence to Nopadol Soparattanapaisarn.

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Thamlikitkul, L., Srimuninnimit, V., Akewanlop, C. et al. Efficacy of ginger for prophylaxis of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients receiving adriamycin–cyclophosphamide regimen: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Support Care Cancer 25, 459–464 (2017).

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