Purpose: Protecting patients from the acute and/or chronic toxicity of antineoplastic therapy has become a major concern of oncology centers around the world. Glutamine has been used as a multisystemic protective agent to minimize the side effects arising from the treatment of childhood cancers. In this study, the effect of intravenous glutamine supplementation was investigated in children receiving chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Methods: Twelve children, of 48 to 120 months of age, and who had non-Hodgkin lymphoma were enrolled in the study. Thirty chemotherapy courses were given in combination with glutamine, and 31 chemotherapy courses were given without glutamine. Glutamine was given intravenously for 7 days, at a dose of 0.4 g/kg/d. Patients were evaluated in each course with regard to gastrointestinal, mucosal, and hematological toxicities.
Results: There were no significant differences in the hematological parameters between the 2 groups. The requirements for red blood cells and platelets during the chemotherapy courses were similar in both groups (P=0.64 and 0.40, respectively). Patients supplemented with glutamine developed mucositis in 21 of 30 courses (70%) and patients without glutamine supplements developed mucositis in 23 of 31 courses (74%). The mean duration of mucositis and the mean mucositis score in each course were similar between the 2 groups. In addition, gastrointestinal system and hepatic toxicity did not differ between groups. The mean duration of febrile neutropenia and the length of hospitalization were also similar in both groups (P=0.09 and 0.13, respectively).
Conclusions: Parenteral glutamine supplementation has no effect on mucositis, fever and febrile neutropenia, length of hospitalization, red blood cell, and platelet requirements, and hematological, gastrointestinal, and hepatic toxicities in children receiving severe chemotherapy.