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Genetic Factors Associated with Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting: a Systematic Review



In previous studies, there seems to be a relationship between different genetic polymorphisms and postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). We perform a systematic review of the current literature about the relationship between genetic polymorphisms and the presence of PONV.


Two bibliographic searches were carried out in three databases (PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus) of studies, preferably prospective, about PONV following abdominal surgery. It was completed with a backward citation searching. A total of 73 articles were found of which 6 were selected after their critical lecture using CASPe network criteria. Relative frequency and relative risk were taken in each study according to the polymorphism.


Studies about 5-HT3B gene receptor polymorphisms, ABCB1 transporter, and dopamine D2 receptor showed a significant association with the presence of PONV (p = 0.02, 0.01, and 0.034 respectively). In relation to cytochrome P-450 2D6 (CYP2D6) polymorphisms, two of the three analysed articles showed a significant association with postoperative vomiting (p = 0.007).


Genetic polymorphisms could play an important role in PONV. The AAG deletion in both alleles of the 5-HT3B receptor gene, the Taq IA polymorphism of the dopamine D2 receptor, and the presence of three or more functional alleles of CYP2D6 seem to be related with a higher incidence of PONV, especially in the first 24 h after surgery. The 2677TT and 3435TT genotypes of the ABCB1 transporter could reduce the PONV due to their association with a greater effectiveness of ondansetron. However, new quality studies are needed to consider this relationship.

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Correspondence to Diego Flores-Funes.

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López-Morales, P., Flores-Funes, D., Sánchez-Migallón, E.G. et al. Genetic Factors Associated with Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting: a Systematic Review. J Gastrointest Surg 22, 1645–1651 (2018).

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  • Postoperative nausea and vomiting
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Risk factor
  • Ondansetron
  • Ultrarapid metaboliser