Vol. 1 No. 7: July
Health Technology Reviews

Palonosetron for Patients Undergoing High or Moderate Emetogenic Chemotherapy

Published July 20, 2021

Key Messages

  • This report identified high to moderate quality evidence from clinical studies and economic evaluations, as well as high-quality guidelines regarding the use of palonosetron in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in adult and pediatric patients receiving different emetogenic chemotherapies. Interpretations of the findings should be taken with caution because of the presence of some identified limitations in both clinical and economic evidence.
  • In adult patients receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy, a fixed antiemetic combination of netupitant and palonosetron (NEPA) plus dexamethasone demonstrated noninferiority relative to a triple regimen of granisetron-aprepitant-dexamethasone. Similarly, palonosetron had similar efficacy compared to granisetron with the co-administration of neurokinin 1 receptor antagonist (e.g., aprepitant or fosaprepitant) and dexamethasone. However, in the absence of aprepitant, a 2-drug combination of palonosetron-dexamethasone appeared to be significantly more effective than granisetron-dexamethasone for the prevention of both acute and delayed emesis.
  • In adult patients receiving moderate emetogenic chemotherapy, palonosetron plus dexamethasone was found to be noninferior compared with ondansetron plus dexamethasone. Similar efficacy was also observed between palonosetron plus dexamethasone and transdermal granisetron plus dexamethasone.
  • In a mixed population of adult patients receiving high or moderate emetogenic chemotherapy, a palonosetron regimen appeared to have greater efficacy than ondansetron for delayed emesis. The efficacy of triple regimen of palonosetron-aprepitant-dexamethasone and granisetron-aprepitant-dexamethasone was comparable at all phases.
  • In pediatric patients receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy, palonosetron plus dexamethasone had similar efficacy compared with ondansetron plus dexamethasone in the acute phase, but was more effective in delayed and overall phases of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
  • In a mixed population of pediatric patients receiving high or moderate emetogenic chemotherapy, palonosetron plus dexamethasone was noninferior to ondansetron plus dexamethasone.
  • There were no significant differences between palonosetron and ondansetron or between palonosetron and granisetron treatment regimens in adverse events or quality of life.
  • A cost-utility analysis revealed that NEPA plus dexamethasone was dominant (i.e., cost less, more effective) relative to granisetron-aprepitant-dexamethasone and ondansetron-aprepitant or fosaprepitant-dexamethasone in adult patients receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy. In contrast, double or triple regimens of palonosetron was not cost-effective compared to granisetron regimens, mainly due to large difference in price and small quality-adjusted life-years gained. These economic evaluations may not be applicable to the Canadian context.
  • The identified high-quality guidelines have recommendations on the use of specific antiemetic regimens for adult and pediatric patients receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy or moderate emetogenic chemotherapy and suggest that palonosetron may be offered as an alternative to other 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptor antagonists and that 1 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptor antagonist is not preferred over another based on the available evidence.