Evaluation of aprepitant for acute chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in children and adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukemia receiving high-dose methotrexate

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Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) negatively impacts patients’ quality of life. The emetogenicity of high-dose methotrexate in children and adolescents with cancer is incompletely characterized. At our institution, a number of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have received aprepitant with courses of high-dose methotrexate after poor CINV control with prior courses.


We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis on patients with ALL who received methotrexate 5 g/m2/dose with and without concomitant aprepitant at Texas. Children's Hospital between October 1, 2010 and January 31, 2016.


We identified 16 patients who received a total of 69 courses of methotrexate. An enhanced antiemetic regimen containing aprepitant was administered with 42 methotrexate courses and resulted in a 54% reduction in the use of as-needed antiemetics (P = 0.002, 95% CI: 21–89%). There were no statistically significant differences in methotrexate area under the curve values (2,209 μM·hr/l ± 151 vs. 2,051 μM·hr/l ± 94, P = 0.355) or end-infusion methotrexate concentrations (80.5 μM ± 5.6 vs. 74.7 μM ± 3.2, P = 0.335) in patients receiving a standard versus an enhanced antiemetic regimen.


The addition of aprepitant reduces both CINV and the use of rescue antiemetics. Aprepitant does not appear to affect the pharmacokinetics of methotrexate. Granisetron was prescribed more frequently than ondansetron, but selection of secondary and tertiary agents, if any, was highly variable.

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