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Metallic taste in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy.

AbstractBACKGROUND:
Metallic taste is a taste alteration frequently reported by cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Attention to this side effect of chemotherapy is limited. This review addresses the definition, assessment methods, prevalence, duration, etiology, and management strategies of metallic taste in chemotherapy treated cancer patients.
METHODS:
Literature search for metallic taste and chemotherapy was performed in PubMed up to September 2014, resulting in 184 articles of which 13 articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria: English publications addressing metallic taste in cancer patients treated with FDA-approved chemotherapy. An additional search in Google Scholar, in related articles of both search engines, and subsequent in the reference lists, resulted in 13 additional articles included in this review. Cancer patient forums were visited to explore management strategies.
FINDINGS:
Prevalence of metallic taste ranged from 9.7% to 78% among patients with various cancers, chemotherapy treatments, and treatment phases. No studies have been performed to investigate the influence of metallic taste on dietary intake, body weight, and quality of life. Several management strategies can be recommended for cancer patients: using plastic utensils, eating cold or frozen foods, adding strong herbs, spices, sweetener or acid to foods, eating sweet and sour foods, using 'miracle fruit' supplements, and rinsing with chelating agents.
INTERPRETATION:
Although metallic taste is a frequent side effect of chemotherapy and a much discussed topic on cancer patient forums, literature regarding metallic taste among chemotherapy treated cancer patients is scarce. More awareness for this side effect can improve the support for these patients.
AuthorsI IJpma, R J Renken, G J Ter Horst, A K L Reyners
JournalCancer treatment reviews (Cancer Treat Rev) Vol. 41 Issue 2 Pg. 179-86 (Feb 2015) ISSN: 1532-1967 [Electronic] Netherlands
PMID25499998 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
CopyrightCopyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Chemical References
  • Platinum Compounds
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Fluorouracil
Topics
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols (administration & dosage, adverse effects)
  • Cyclophosphamide (adverse effects)
  • Doxorubicin (adverse effects)
  • Fluorouracil (adverse effects)
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Neoplasms (drug therapy)
  • Platinum Compounds (adverse effects)
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste Disorders (chemically induced, epidemiology, physiopathology, prevention & control)
  • Time Factors

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