Prevention of gastrointestinal side-effects in paediatric oncology: what are the guidelines?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Gastrointestinal side-effects, particularly with regard to alimentary tract mucositis and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), continue to be frequent and debilitating symptomatic conditions among children and adolescents receiving cytotoxic cancer therapy. Further avenues of progress for mucositis and CINV prevention in paediatric oncology setting are warranted.

Recent findings

The current article reviews the major guidelines and literature published in 2016 pertaining to the prevention of mucositis and CINV. Considerable professional organizational efforts have been made to develop consensus-based or evidence-based guidelines that periodically update to define basic standards of mucositis and CINV prevention. There are a few published works in 2016 that may contribute to the emerging evidence on prevention of mucositis and CINV in the paediatric setting for future guideline updates.

Summary

The concomitant use of 5-HT3 receptor antagonist and dexamethasone are effective to prevent acute and delayed CINV in children who are to receive highly or moderately emetogenic chemotherapy. Optimal control of acute and delayed CINV can prevent anticipatory CINV. Oral care protocols would be beneficial to prevent mucositis in children across all cancer treatment modalities. Cryotherapy or low-level light therapy may be applied to cooperative children undergoing chemotherapy or haematological stem cell transplant conditioning regimens with a high rate of mucositis.

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